Prints and Original Art for Sale

Listed below are many of my original works as well as high quality prints.

Please contact me with inquiries about pricing (jag246@cornell.edu).

Catalogue

                          Original Paintings by John Gurche                                                   

                                        Now for Sale, from $2,000 to $120,000

I’ve been very fortunate to have a four-decade career that has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d go. Into the Mesozoic Era to observe dinosaur behavior. To ancient Africa to study our ancestors.

I’ve made art for 12 issues of National Geographic Magazine, with four covers. I’ve also painted covers for Discover Magazine, Natural History Magazine, the journal Science, and periodicals and books around the world. I have fifteen sculptures in the Smithsonian’s Hall of Human Origins. I’ve done pre-production art for Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, and dinosaur stamp art for the USPS. I was chosen do create paintings to go on exhibit with two museum’s star fossils: The Field Museum’s Tyrannosaurus (nicknamed Sue) and the American Museum of Natural History’s 3-skeleton Barosaurus rotunda mount.

I’ve been passionate about keeping my original art, as reproductions appeared in museums and on magazine covers. In four decades, I’ve only parted with one painting (‘Sue’ for the Field Museum). I am now, for the first time in 40 years, opening these up for sale, with prices from $2,000 to $120,000.

Prints of any of these are available on request at jag246@cornell.edu.

Ultrasaurus  and  Allosaurus . This painting, my first one commissioned by  National Geographic Magazine , had some kind of positive Voodoo going for it. I had been knocking on their door for nine years without success, when in 1988 I was called in by Howard Paine, the senior art editor. “We want to do something about dinosaurs for a poster insert in our extinction article,” he said, “but we don’t exactly know what.” I described an image that had been knocking on the back door of my cerebral cortex for years, depicting a herd of the largest known dinosaurs viewed from up close. Howard said: “Draw it.” The art department loved the drawing, and Howard said: “Paint it.”  Over a period of five months or so, I consulted with experts and completed the painting. Three weeks later, I got phone call. The painting had been chosen for the cover of the June, 1989 issue. It went on to win a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. “Gee,” I thought, “working for  National Geographic  is so fun and so easy.” I’ve worked on eleven issues of the magazine since then. Often fun, but it’s never been so easy since.  $85,000

Ultrasaurus and Allosaurus. This painting, my first one commissioned by National Geographic Magazine, had some kind of positive Voodoo going for it. I had been knocking on their door for nine years without success, when in 1988 I was called in by Howard Paine, the senior art editor. “We want to do something about dinosaurs for a poster insert in our extinction article,” he said, “but we don’t exactly know what.” I described an image that had been knocking on the back door of my cerebral cortex for years, depicting a herd of the largest known dinosaurs viewed from up close. Howard said: “Draw it.” The art department loved the drawing, and Howard said: “Paint it.”

Over a period of five months or so, I consulted with experts and completed the painting. Three weeks later, I got phone call. The painting had been chosen for the cover of the June, 1989 issue. It went on to win a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. “Gee,” I thought, “working for National Geographic is so fun and so easy.” I’ve worked on eleven issues of the magazine since then. Often fun, but it’s never been so easy since. $85,000

Saurolopus  nesting colony. My second  National Geographic  assignment was a doozer. A revolution in the thinking about dinosaur biology had been percolating through the scientific literature, and had developed so much momentum that  National Geographic  decided it was time to bring it to the mainstream in the magazine. They wanted to do a major story on new findings about dinosaur parenting and other social behavior, with new evidence about metabolism, activity levels, posture and migration. Replacing the old scaled-up iguanas of yesteryear was a dynamic new picture of dinosaurs as active, intelligent, social creatures. There was evidence that some were warm-blooded. In their parenting and other social behaviors, they were more like birds than today’s reptiles. I did some of my best work for this issue (January, 1993), and this painting, one of five I did for the issue, made the cover. It depicts a colonial nesting site of the Cretaceous duckbill  Saurolophus .  $85,000

Saurolopus nesting colony. My second National Geographic assignment was a doozer. A revolution in the thinking about dinosaur biology had been percolating through the scientific literature, and had developed so much momentum that National Geographic decided it was time to bring it to the mainstream in the magazine. They wanted to do a major story on new findings about dinosaur parenting and other social behavior, with new evidence about metabolism, activity levels, posture and migration. Replacing the old scaled-up iguanas of yesteryear was a dynamic new picture of dinosaurs as active, intelligent, social creatures. There was evidence that some were warm-blooded. In their parenting and other social behaviors, they were more like birds than today’s reptiles. I did some of my best work for this issue (January, 1993), and this painting, one of five I did for the issue, made the cover. It depicts a colonial nesting site of the Cretaceous duckbill Saurolophus. $85,000

 
Herrerasaurus  and cynodonts. This painting, also done for the January, 1993 issue of National Geographic, depicts one of the earliest known dinosaurs. In the foreground shadows are three cynodonts, about five million years away from becoming the first mammals. $80,000

Herrerasaurus and cynodonts. This painting, also done for the January, 1993 issue of National Geographic, depicts one of the earliest known dinosaurs. In the foreground shadows are three cynodonts, about five million years away from becoming the first mammals. $80,000

Edmontosaurs and tyrannosaur. This painting, also done for the January, 1993 issue of  National Geographic Magazine,  depicts hadrosaurs (duckbills) and a stealthy tyrannosaur found on Alaska’s North Slope, which was even further north at this time in the late Cretaceous Period than it is today. These dinosaurs were either adapted to the cold and dark, or migrated long distances as their relatives, the birds, do today.  $80,000

Edmontosaurs and tyrannosaur. This painting, also done for the January, 1993 issue of National Geographic Magazine, depicts hadrosaurs (duckbills) and a stealthy tyrannosaur found on Alaska’s North Slope, which was even further north at this time in the late Cretaceous Period than it is today. These dinosaurs were either adapted to the cold and dark, or migrated long distances as their relatives, the birds, do today. $80,000

Stygimoloch . This painting, painted for the January, 1993 issue of  National Geographic Magazine  but not used, depicts two  Stygimoloch  facing off. Their odd headgear is interpreted as visual display structures. In a broad range of vertebrates, such displays often resolve a conflict before it becomes a fight.  $80,000

Stygimoloch. This painting, painted for the January, 1993 issue of National Geographic Magazine but not used, depicts two Stygimoloch facing off. Their odd headgear is interpreted as visual display structures. In a broad range of vertebrates, such displays often resolve a conflict before it becomes a fight. $80,000

Pachycephalosaurus.  When display fails. Two  Pachycephalosaurus  individuals, relatives of  Stygimoloch , fight by head-butting. This painting appeared in the January, 1993 issue of  National Geographic Magazine  and on the back cover of  The Art of National Geographic.   $85,000

Pachycephalosaurus. When display fails. Two Pachycephalosaurus individuals, relatives of Stygimoloch, fight by head-butting. This painting appeared in the January, 1993 issue of National Geographic Magazine and on the back cover of The Art of National Geographic. $85,000

Daspletosaurus  and  Styracosaurus . The dinosaur revolution began when Yale’s John Ostrum discovered a very bird-like species of dinosaur that hunted with enlarged toe-claws, and realized that this would have required a more active life than those of today’s reptiles. John’s student, Bob Bakker, took up the baton and ran with it, marshaling evidence of a brand new world of dinosaurs. He put this evidence together in a popular book, The  Dinosaur Heresies , which he published in 1986. I did this painting for the cover, which featured the Canadian tyrannosaur  Daspletosaurus  facing off with the horned dinosaur  Styracosaurus.  I wanted to emphasize the bird-like aspects of the  Daspletosaurus , which is shown with its foot in a birdlike defensive posture, and I gave it coloring like a black-capped chickadee.  In accordance with Bob’s ideas, I wanted very active poses for both dinosaurs, and imagined that standing next to a confrontation between such huge beasts would be something like standing next to a collision of freight trains.  $90,000

Daspletosaurus and Styracosaurus. The dinosaur revolution began when Yale’s John Ostrum discovered a very bird-like species of dinosaur that hunted with enlarged toe-claws, and realized that this would have required a more active life than those of today’s reptiles. John’s student, Bob Bakker, took up the baton and ran with it, marshaling evidence of a brand new world of dinosaurs. He put this evidence together in a popular book, The Dinosaur Heresies, which he published in 1986. I did this painting for the cover, which featured the Canadian tyrannosaur Daspletosaurus facing off with the horned dinosaur Styracosaurus. I wanted to emphasize the bird-like aspects of the Daspletosaurus, which is shown with its foot in a birdlike defensive posture, and I gave it coloring like a black-capped chickadee.

In accordance with Bob’s ideas, I wanted very active poses for both dinosaurs, and imagined that standing next to a confrontation between such huge beasts would be something like standing next to a collision of freight trains. $90,000

Hypacrosaur mother and hatchlings. One of the revolutionary new dinosaur finds of the late 20th century was the discovery of hadrosaurs’ (duck-bill) colonial nesting sites. These included six foot wide nests with eggshells and skeletons of hatchlings. The biggest surprise came with studies of the teeth of these baby dinosaurs, which were already showing tooth wear! Either these hatchlings were leaving the nest to forage and finding their way back to it or, more probably, their parents were bringing them food until they had matured enough to leave the nest and forage on their own.  Discover Magazine  did a story on this in 1987 and commissioned a painting from me for their cover. This painting depicts a mother Hypacrosaur feeding regurgitated berries to her hatchlings. The head crest is interpreted as a display structure, like similar features that birds use in social display today. I decided that the most interesting view might be one from down in the nest.  $75,000

Hypacrosaur mother and hatchlings. One of the revolutionary new dinosaur finds of the late 20th century was the discovery of hadrosaurs’ (duck-bill) colonial nesting sites. These included six foot wide nests with eggshells and skeletons of hatchlings. The biggest surprise came with studies of the teeth of these baby dinosaurs, which were already showing tooth wear! Either these hatchlings were leaving the nest to forage and finding their way back to it or, more probably, their parents were bringing them food until they had matured enough to leave the nest and forage on their own. Discover Magazine did a story on this in 1987 and commissioned a painting from me for their cover. This painting depicts a mother Hypacrosaur feeding regurgitated berries to her hatchlings. The head crest is interpreted as a display structure, like similar features that birds use in social display today. I decided that the most interesting view might be one from down in the nest. $75,000

Barosaurus  and  Allosaurus . In 1991, the  American Museum of Natural History  installed its dynamic new 3-skeleton, five story dinosaur mount in their rotunda. They commissioned me to do this painting, a reproduction of which appears with the skeletons in the rotunda. The mount and the painting depict a long-necked mother Barosaurus rearing to defend one of her young from a marauding Allosaurus. The new mount opened to much fanfare and controversy (Could an adult Barosaurus really support its weight on its hind legs? One paleontologist said: “Yes, but only once.”), and the painting appeared on the cover of  Natural History Magazine  in December of 1991.  $95,000

Barosaurus and Allosaurus. In 1991, the American Museum of Natural History installed its dynamic new 3-skeleton, five story dinosaur mount in their rotunda. They commissioned me to do this painting, a reproduction of which appears with the skeletons in the rotunda. The mount and the painting depict a long-necked mother Barosaurus rearing to defend one of her young from a marauding Allosaurus. The new mount opened to much fanfare and controversy (Could an adult Barosaurus really support its weight on its hind legs? One paleontologist said: “Yes, but only once.”), and the painting appeared on the cover of Natural History Magazine in December of 1991. $95,000

Australopithecus afarensis.  In early 1994  National Geographic Magazine  asked me to create, for the first time, a painting closer to our own ancestry, and closer to my own training (anthropology). The famous Lucy fossil had made her debut without her head twenty years earlier, and the new  National Geographic  story was about the discovery of the first reasonably complete skull (a large male) for the species ( Australopithecus afarensis ). Using the new skull, as well as a composite adult female skull and a child’s skull known for the species, I did 3D anatomical reconstructions of each, and used them for reference for this painting, depicting a social group in an open woodland setting. The biggest debate about this and related species was about locomotion. Everyone agreed that these creatures were bipeds, but were they also climbing trees? I wanted to take the issue head on in the painting, and depicted them doing both, as they begin to move out of the woodland where they had been foraging. Some of the no-climbing theorists among the experts weren’t pleased at the time to see climbing depicted. Current opinion is that they were climbing a sufficient amount of the time to influence their morphology.  $80,000

Australopithecus afarensis. In early 1994 National Geographic Magazine asked me to create, for the first time, a painting closer to our own ancestry, and closer to my own training (anthropology). The famous Lucy fossil had made her debut without her head twenty years earlier, and the new National Geographic story was about the discovery of the first reasonably complete skull (a large male) for the species (Australopithecus afarensis). Using the new skull, as well as a composite adult female skull and a child’s skull known for the species, I did 3D anatomical reconstructions of each, and used them for reference for this painting, depicting a social group in an open woodland setting. The biggest debate about this and related species was about locomotion. Everyone agreed that these creatures were bipeds, but were they also climbing trees? I wanted to take the issue head on in the painting, and depicted them doing both, as they begin to move out of the woodland where they had been foraging. Some of the no-climbing theorists among the experts weren’t pleased at the time to see climbing depicted. Current opinion is that they were climbing a sufficient amount of the time to influence their morphology. $80,000

Australopithecus anamensis.  In 1994, I got a call from  National Geographic  saying that fossils from a new hominin species had been discovered in Kenya by Meave Leakey’s team. The fossils were about four million years old, making them the oldest known hominins at the time. Would I like to go into the field with them as they went out to find more fossils? They envisioned me keeping a field notebook, with drawings of any fossils the team found. I told them; no, I’m too busy. Just kidding, I wanted to go more than anything. When I was a child, I used to see the Leakey family (including a younger Meave) in the pages of  National Geographic Magazine , looking for fossils be day, and laying them out for analysis on a table by lantern light at night. I had thought: There is no better life than this. I gave  National Geographic  an enthusiastic yes, and started preparing my portable field art kit.  By the time I went to Kenya in early 1995, an even older hominin species had been announced from Ethiopia, so the Kenyan finds were no longer the oldest. They were, however, very exciting. They spoke of a hominin that was fully bipedal, but retained a lot of primitive ape-like features.  I flew from Nairobi with Meave and her team, up to a hot, barren area not far from the Ethiopian border, near the shore of Lake Turkana. Temperatures reached nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit each day, and a strong wind was nearly constant. Without the wind, it would have been unbearable. With it was like living in a blast furnace. I had to weight my portable drawing board, reference photos and drawing utensils with rocks on my outdoor work table. Dust blew across my drawings as I worked on them. At one point a strong gust picked up my drawing board, scattering the rocks, and sailed it into the coffee pot, tipping it over. My drawings and photos went zipping into the wind. Even with these challenges, this was one of the most inspiring experiences in my career.  Known portions of the skeleton that have been attributed to this species are done in more detail. Stay tuned for the announcement of a very exciting find relating to this species.  $65,000

Australopithecus anamensis. In 1994, I got a call from National Geographic saying that fossils from a new hominin species had been discovered in Kenya by Meave Leakey’s team. The fossils were about four million years old, making them the oldest known hominins at the time. Would I like to go into the field with them as they went out to find more fossils? They envisioned me keeping a field notebook, with drawings of any fossils the team found. I told them; no, I’m too busy. Just kidding, I wanted to go more than anything. When I was a child, I used to see the Leakey family (including a younger Meave) in the pages of National Geographic Magazine, looking for fossils be day, and laying them out for analysis on a table by lantern light at night. I had thought: There is no better life than this. I gave National Geographic an enthusiastic yes, and started preparing my portable field art kit.

By the time I went to Kenya in early 1995, an even older hominin species had been announced from Ethiopia, so the Kenyan finds were no longer the oldest. They were, however, very exciting. They spoke of a hominin that was fully bipedal, but retained a lot of primitive ape-like features.

I flew from Nairobi with Meave and her team, up to a hot, barren area not far from the Ethiopian border, near the shore of Lake Turkana. Temperatures reached nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit each day, and a strong wind was nearly constant. Without the wind, it would have been unbearable. With it was like living in a blast furnace. I had to weight my portable drawing board, reference photos and drawing utensils with rocks on my outdoor work table. Dust blew across my drawings as I worked on them. At one point a strong gust picked up my drawing board, scattering the rocks, and sailed it into the coffee pot, tipping it over. My drawings and photos went zipping into the wind. Even with these challenges, this was one of the most inspiring experiences in my career.

Known portions of the skeleton that have been attributed to this species are done in more detail. Stay tuned for the announcement of a very exciting find relating to this species. $65,000

Malapa. In 2009, Lee Berger and his son Mathew were prospecting for new hominin sites not far outside of Johannesburg, when Mathew exclaimed: “Dad, I think I found a fossil!” This marked the discovery of a new species, called  Australopithecus sediba . The find was remarkable in that it included two partial skeletons, in contrast to the usual isolated bone more typical of early hominin finds . National Geographic  sent me to Johannesburg to study the remains for clues that would allow me to reconstruct the new species for their introduction of it to the world. Over four months, I built a face over the skull of a juvenile male. I also did this painting of the death site. The NG art director and I did not see eye to eye on this. I wanted an eerie, quiet scene, where it would register slowly that we are seeing the remains of creatures that had fallen into the cavern from sinkholes, perhaps seeking water during a drought. He wanted more obvious drama: hominins shown falling into the cave. I capitulated, privately considering insertion of a spiky cartoon bubble that said “POW,” or “BAM.”  When this change was completed, the art director had another suggestion, which would have meant re-doing much of the painting and, more importantly, would have destroyed the composition; to move the stone pillar separating chambers of the cave out of the gutter. It would have meant moving a more significant part of the painting into the gutter instead. I tried to talk him out of it, and when he persisted, I just said: no. He removed the painting from the article. You can get bitter about this type of thing, but this time, there was, eventually, more of a sense of justice. Not long after he dismissed the painting,  National Geographic  dismissed him.  $80,000

Malapa. In 2009, Lee Berger and his son Mathew were prospecting for new hominin sites not far outside of Johannesburg, when Mathew exclaimed: “Dad, I think I found a fossil!” This marked the discovery of a new species, called Australopithecus sediba. The find was remarkable in that it included two partial skeletons, in contrast to the usual isolated bone more typical of early hominin finds. National Geographic sent me to Johannesburg to study the remains for clues that would allow me to reconstruct the new species for their introduction of it to the world. Over four months, I built a face over the skull of a juvenile male. I also did this painting of the death site. The NG art director and I did not see eye to eye on this. I wanted an eerie, quiet scene, where it would register slowly that we are seeing the remains of creatures that had fallen into the cavern from sinkholes, perhaps seeking water during a drought. He wanted more obvious drama: hominins shown falling into the cave. I capitulated, privately considering insertion of a spiky cartoon bubble that said “POW,” or “BAM.”

When this change was completed, the art director had another suggestion, which would have meant re-doing much of the painting and, more importantly, would have destroyed the composition; to move the stone pillar separating chambers of the cave out of the gutter. It would have meant moving a more significant part of the painting into the gutter instead. I tried to talk him out of it, and when he persisted, I just said: no. He removed the painting from the article. You can get bitter about this type of thing, but this time, there was, eventually, more of a sense of justice. Not long after he dismissed the painting, National Geographic dismissed him. $80,000

This painting was kept in the  National Geographic   Australopithecus sediba  article of 2011. It shows Lucy ( Australopithecus afarensis ) and Turkana Boy  (Homo erectus ), with a juvenile male  Australopithecus sediba  walking between them. The transition from a species of  Australopithecus  to the genus  Homo  has long been one of human origins’ biggest mysteries.  A. sediba  was a very exciting find because of its unique combination of primitive and evolved features. In many respects, it resembles other species of  Australopithecus  (especially  A. africanus ), but it uniquely shares some features with Homo, suggesting that this species is near the branch of  Australopithecus  that gave rise to the genus  Homo . All three individuals are reconstructed from partial skeletons, ranging from about 40% complete to about 90%.  $75,000

This painting was kept in the National Geographic Australopithecus sediba article of 2011. It shows Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) and Turkana Boy (Homo erectus), with a juvenile male Australopithecus sediba walking between them. The transition from a species of Australopithecus to the genus Homo has long been one of human origins’ biggest mysteries. A. sediba was a very exciting find because of its unique combination of primitive and evolved features. In many respects, it resembles other species of Australopithecus (especially A. africanus), but it uniquely shares some features with Homo, suggesting that this species is near the branch of Australopithecus that gave rise to the genus Homo. All three individuals are reconstructed from partial skeletons, ranging from about 40% complete to about 90%. $75,000

This painting, commissioned by National Geographic in 2014, shows, from left to right, Lucy, Turkana Boy and an adult male  Homo naledi . The discovery of  Homo naledi  was remarkable for several reasons. Here was a form of early Homo that was very primitive in some regards (such as small brain size), but almost modern looking in others. The cave deposits in which it was found were difficult to date, so the team did not yet know how old the fossils were, but the wealth of primitive features suggested that it was at the base of the genus  Homo . If so, enlargement of the brain, long considered the hallmark of  Homo , was not part of the genus’ origin.  The find was of spectacular size; more than 1,500 bones were taken out of the cave, from nearly every part of the body. On top of that, the remains were found deep in a cave with a convoluted, difficult entrance. No bones of other animals, except for a few bird bones, were found with the hominin bones, an unheard of circumstance among hominin finds. After ruling out other alternatives, the team proposed that bodies were dragged into the cave, in an early (earliest?) example of a funerary practice.   National Geographic  got very interested in this find, and sent me to South Africa again to gather information so that I could reconstruct it. Lee threw the doors of the hominin vault at the University of the Witwatersrand wide, and let me study the fossils until long after everyone else went home.  What emerged from study of these fossils was yet another unique combination of primitive and advanced features. You can see in the painting (and in the wall drawings behind the figures) that there are stark differences between the body forms of Lucy and the Turkana Boy. In some ways  Homo naledi  occupies an intermediate position.  Another big surprise occurred when a date for the find was finally obtained. It was only about 300,000 years old, not the expected nearly 3 million years old it should have been if it were the earliest  Homo . It is too recent to be basal  Homo , but may represent in its primitive anatomy a branch that split off from basal  Homo  early on.  $80,000

This painting, commissioned by National Geographic in 2014, shows, from left to right, Lucy, Turkana Boy and an adult male Homo naledi. The discovery of Homo naledi was remarkable for several reasons. Here was a form of early Homo that was very primitive in some regards (such as small brain size), but almost modern looking in others. The cave deposits in which it was found were difficult to date, so the team did not yet know how old the fossils were, but the wealth of primitive features suggested that it was at the base of the genus Homo. If so, enlargement of the brain, long considered the hallmark of Homo, was not part of the genus’ origin.

The find was of spectacular size; more than 1,500 bones were taken out of the cave, from nearly every part of the body. On top of that, the remains were found deep in a cave with a convoluted, difficult entrance. No bones of other animals, except for a few bird bones, were found with the hominin bones, an unheard of circumstance among hominin finds. After ruling out other alternatives, the team proposed that bodies were dragged into the cave, in an early (earliest?) example of a funerary practice.

National Geographic got very interested in this find, and sent me to South Africa again to gather information so that I could reconstruct it. Lee threw the doors of the hominin vault at the University of the Witwatersrand wide, and let me study the fossils until long after everyone else went home.

What emerged from study of these fossils was yet another unique combination of primitive and advanced features. You can see in the painting (and in the wall drawings behind the figures) that there are stark differences between the body forms of Lucy and the Turkana Boy. In some ways Homo naledi occupies an intermediate position.

Another big surprise occurred when a date for the find was finally obtained. It was only about 300,000 years old, not the expected nearly 3 million years old it should have been if it were the earliest Homo. It is too recent to be basal Homo, but may represent in its primitive anatomy a branch that split off from basal Homo early on. $80,000

In 1989 the U.S. Postal Service asked me to create art for four dinosaur postage stamps (technically three dinosaurs and a pterosaur) I was already neck-deep in my first  National Geographic  assignment, and I almost declined. In the end, I agreed to create the art, but only if I could work very small, at a scale of 1.5 times the size of a stamp, instead of the usual scale of five times stamp size. They agreed, and the stamps came out later that year. The original paintings of  Stegosaurus ,  Tyrannosaurus, Apatosaurus  and  Pteranodon  are buried in the bowels of the United States Post Office (remember that room at the end of  Raiders of the Lost Ark ?), but I saved my scribbles leading up to the painting, and present them here for sale.  $55,000

In 1989 the U.S. Postal Service asked me to create art for four dinosaur postage stamps (technically three dinosaurs and a pterosaur) I was already neck-deep in my first National Geographic assignment, and I almost declined. In the end, I agreed to create the art, but only if I could work very small, at a scale of 1.5 times the size of a stamp, instead of the usual scale of five times stamp size. They agreed, and the stamps came out later that year. The original paintings of Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Apatosaurus and Pteranodon are buried in the bowels of the United States Post Office (remember that room at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark?), but I saved my scribbles leading up to the painting, and present them here for sale. $55,000

Tyrannosaurus rex . In 1997, Chicago’s Field Museum bought a  Tyrannosaurus  skeleton, nicknamed “Sue” after its discoverer, for 8.3 million dollars. Prior to this, she had lain peacefully in the ground for 67 million years, then was abruptly dug up and fought over by descendants of little shrew like mammals that had cowered in her shadow when she was alive.  The Field Museum contacted me in 2,000 to commission a painting of Sue in life to go on exhibit with her skeleton. They originally bought only the reproduction rights, but since have bought the original painting. This is the only original painting I’ve been willing to part with in the past 39 years.   $85,000 SOLD

Tyrannosaurus rex. In 1997, Chicago’s Field Museum bought a Tyrannosaurus skeleton, nicknamed “Sue” after its discoverer, for 8.3 million dollars. Prior to this, she had lain peacefully in the ground for 67 million years, then was abruptly dug up and fought over by descendants of little shrew like mammals that had cowered in her shadow when she was alive.

The Field Museum contacted me in 2,000 to commission a painting of Sue in life to go on exhibit with her skeleton. They originally bought only the reproduction rights, but since have bought the original painting. This is the only original painting I’ve been willing to part with in the past 39 years.

$85,000 SOLD

In the summer of 1990, Amblin Entertainment left a message on my answering machine. I called back and asked: Amblin who? They told me that they were Steven Spielberg’s Movie company, and that he was beginning work on a movie version of Michael Crichton’s novel,  Jurassic Park . Would I be interested in working on it?  This led to a great deal of fun, creating preproduction art for the Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus segments of the movie. They also wanted a poster image, and I created this one. There was a disagreement between Spielberg and Amblin’s marketing department, who wanted a logo approach that matched the cover of Crichton’s novel. Spielberg himself called me one Friday to say: “It’s a go. Finish that painting and we’ll use it as the movie poster. I worked all weekend to get it done. By Monday, the marketing department had regained control, and it was never used.  $90,000

In the summer of 1990, Amblin Entertainment left a message on my answering machine. I called back and asked: Amblin who? They told me that they were Steven Spielberg’s Movie company, and that he was beginning work on a movie version of Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park. Would I be interested in working on it?

This led to a great deal of fun, creating preproduction art for the Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus segments of the movie. They also wanted a poster image, and I created this one. There was a disagreement between Spielberg and Amblin’s marketing department, who wanted a logo approach that matched the cover of Crichton’s novel. Spielberg himself called me one Friday to say: “It’s a go. Finish that painting and we’ll use it as the movie poster. I worked all weekend to get it done. By Monday, the marketing department had regained control, and it was never used. $90,000

In 1997, I did this painting for National Geographic’s ‘Dawn of Humans’ series, as a poster insert. I wanted to capture both the physical and the cognitive sides of our evolution, including mathematics, our scientific efforts to understand our universe and our peopling the skies with gods. $120,000

In 1997, I did this painting for National Geographic’s ‘Dawn of Humans’ series, as a poster insert. I wanted to capture both the physical and the cognitive sides of our evolution, including mathematics, our scientific efforts to understand our universe and our peopling the skies with gods. $120,000

Neandertal male, from  Lost Anatomies  by John Gurche.

Neandertal male, from Lost Anatomies by John Gurche.

Australopithecus sediba  adult female arm skeleton, from  Lost Anatomies  by John Gurche.

Australopithecus sediba adult female arm skeleton, from Lost Anatomies by John Gurche.

Australopithecus afarensis , from  Lost Anatomies  by John Gurche.

Australopithecus afarensis, from Lost Anatomies by John Gurche.

Bonobo left foot, from  Lost Anatomies  by John Gurche.  The  Lost Anatomies  collection. This 27 year labor of love is a collection of 187 drawings and paintings celebrating the visual power of the evolving human form. The human form has been the subject of intense artistic exploration for centuries. Now that the human origins sciences have extended the field for such work by revealing the precursors of the human form, artistic exploration of the  evolving  human form is possible. The hands and feet, skeletons and musculature, and faces and heads depicted in this collection are just that. The collection has now been published as a book by Abrams Books:  Lost Anatomies: the evolution of the human form . Each of these drawings is  $75,000.

Bonobo left foot, from Lost Anatomies by John Gurche.

The Lost Anatomies collection. This 27 year labor of love is a collection of 187 drawings and paintings celebrating the visual power of the evolving human form. The human form has been the subject of intense artistic exploration for centuries. Now that the human origins sciences have extended the field for such work by revealing the precursors of the human form, artistic exploration of the evolving human form is possible. The hands and feet, skeletons and musculature, and faces and heads depicted in this collection are just that. The collection has now been published as a book by Abrams Books: Lost Anatomies: the evolution of the human form. Each of these drawings is $75,000.

In the mid-1980s, the Smithsonian asked me to create a painted scene of  Deinonychus , the John Ostrum discovery that began the dinosaur revolution of the 80s and 90s. This scene shows three  Deinonychus , thought to be pack hunters, attacking an iguanodontid. It was later used for the cover of Don Lessom’s book,  Kings of Creation .  I was moved by the very bird-like skeleton of this animal, and included the shadows of three birds in the painting. The scene would have been different if I’d done it today. Today, we know that  Deinonychus  had feathers.  $65,000

In the mid-1980s, the Smithsonian asked me to create a painted scene of Deinonychus, the John Ostrum discovery that began the dinosaur revolution of the 80s and 90s. This scene shows three Deinonychus, thought to be pack hunters, attacking an iguanodontid. It was later used for the cover of Don Lessom’s book, Kings of Creation.

I was moved by the very bird-like skeleton of this animal, and included the shadows of three birds in the painting. The scene would have been different if I’d done it today. Today, we know that Deinonychus had feathers. $65,000

This painting, created for John Reader’s  The Rise of Life , depicts the Gibraltar skull, from an adult female Neandertal, in three time contexts: When fresh, possibly treated in a ritual way, when discovered in 1848, and on a modern museum table.  $45,000

This painting, created for John Reader’s The Rise of Life, depicts the Gibraltar skull, from an adult female Neandertal, in three time contexts: When fresh, possibly treated in a ritual way, when discovered in 1848, and on a modern museum table. $45,000

This painting/drawing depicts Darwin’s “warm little pond” idea, accompanied by his letter to Hooker explaining it. Appeared in  The Rise of Life .   $45,000

This painting/drawing depicts Darwin’s “warm little pond” idea, accompanied by his letter to Hooker explaining it. Appeared in The Rise of Life.

$45,000

The origin of the eukaryotic cell. The Rise of Life.  $25,000

The origin of the eukaryotic cell. The Rise of Life. $25,000

Sabre-toothed cat. The Rise of Life.  $15,000

Sabre-toothed cat. The Rise of Life. $15,000

Early fossil cells caught in division, from the Bitter Springs Formation.  The Rise of Life .  $5,000

Early fossil cells caught in division, from the Bitter Springs Formation. The Rise of Life. $5,000

A representation of chemical evolution leading to the first cell. John Reader’s  The Rise of Life .  $30,000

A representation of chemical evolution leading to the first cell. John Reader’s The Rise of Life. $30,000

Early fossil cells from the Gunflint Formation.  The Rise of Life.   $5,000

Early fossil cells from the Gunflint Formation. The Rise of Life. $5,000

Fred Hoyle and his theory of panspermia.  The Rise of Life .  $5,000

Fred Hoyle and his theory of panspermia. The Rise of Life. $5,000

Richard Owen.  The Rise of Life.   $60,000

Richard Owen. The Rise of Life. $60,000

Phenacodus. The Rise of Life.   $5,000

Phenacodus. The Rise of Life. $5,000

Allosaurus  and  Stegosaurus,  commissioned by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, cover art for  Prehistoric Journey .  $75.000

Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, commissioned by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, cover art for Prehistoric Journey. $75.000

The eukaryotic cell. John Reader’s  The Rise of Life .  $5,000

The eukaryotic cell. John Reader’s The Rise of Life. $5,000

Brain Evolution bas relief using actual endocranial casts of extinct primates. Time is the x axis. Brain size is the y axis. John Reader’s  The Rise of Life . Dental Stone.  $50,000

Brain Evolution bas relief using actual endocranial casts of extinct primates. Time is the x axis. Brain size is the y axis. John Reader’s The Rise of Life. Dental Stone. $50,000

Myxotricha  and symbionts. John Reader’s The Rise of Life.  $2,000

Myxotricha and symbionts. John Reader’s The Rise of Life. $2,000

Australopithecus africanus . Cover art for  The Sex Contract  by Helen Fisher, William Morrow, 1983.  $50,000

Australopithecus africanus. Cover art for The Sex Contract by Helen Fisher, William Morrow, 1983. $50,000

Archaeopteryx , lacewing, and sauropod  The Rise of Life .  $50,000

Archaeopteryx, lacewing, and sauropod The Rise of Life. $50,000

Eusthenopteron  out of water.  The Rise of Life   $50,000

Eusthenopteron out of water. The Rise of Life $50,000

Deinonychus ,  The Rise of Life , by John Reader, Alfred Knopf, 1986.  $50,000

Deinonychus, The Rise of Life, by John Reader, Alfred Knopf, 1986. $50,000

Diplodocus  herd.  The Rise of Life , by John Reader, Alfred Knopf, 1986.  $40,000 .

Diplodocus herd. The Rise of Life, by John Reader, Alfred Knopf, 1986. $40,000.

Neandertals  vocalizing. In  the Age of Mankind,  by Roger Lewin, Smithsonian Books, 1987.  $80,000

Neandertals vocalizing. In the Age of Mankind, by Roger Lewin, Smithsonian Books, 1987. $80,000

Archaeopteryx , painted for National Geographic’s The  Wonder of Birds.   $50,000

Archaeopteryx, painted for National Geographic’s The Wonder of Birds. $50,000