Monday Morning Brief | Duck stamp art

Sep 21, 2016, 2 PM

Monday Morning Brief | Duck stamp art

Watch as Scott catalog new-issues editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the contest to select the artwork for the federal duck stamp, and this year’s winning entry by Jim Hautman.

Full video transcript:

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for September 19, 2016.

On Sept. 9th and 10th, Philadelphia, PA hosted the country’s only judged art contest mandated by federal law to pick the work of art that will be featured on the yearly Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp, more commonly known as the “federal duck stamp.” These $25 stamps get stuck to hunting licenses of anyone wanting to hunt waterfowl in the United States. Their sale funds the purchase of wetland habitats and conservation efforts, and the stamps are often considered by collectors to be some of the most beautiful items that can be put on an album page.

This year’s competition featured the works of 153 different artists. The public could view the paintings of birds in their natural habitat, choose their favorites and then watch the competition unfold.

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The artists vied for a top prize that will be presented next June  ??  one hot-off-the-press pane of 2017 duck stamps featuring the winning painting, signed by the secretary of the interior. More importantly, the artist is allowed to attach the prestigious designation of “winner of the Federal Duck Stamp competition” to any and all artwork they have produced.

Each 10- by 7-inch work, known only by its entry number, depicted one of five migratory bird species eligible for this contest: brants, Canada geese, northern shovelers, red-breasted mergansers, and Steller’s eiders.

All entries are viewed by a panel of five judges, who focus on the work’s composition and its ability to be shrunk down to stamp size. On the first day, the judges begin whittling down the entries. To avoid elimination, a painting must receive a positive vote from the majority of the judges. Entries moving on to the second round are then vetted by technical advisors, scrutinizing the works for appropriate details in the bird’s anatomy and background features.

The judges consider the advisor’s input when viewing each remaining work of art again. In the second round, each judge gives a numerical score of 1 to 5 for each painting, with the works getting the five highest scores moving on. The remaining works are again judged with new numerical scores in the third round, until the highest-scoring painting is determined.

Canada geese will appear on a duck stamp for the fifth time in 2017. The victorious painting of three geese in flight was by an artist who is no stranger to the winner’s circle  ? Jim Hautman of Chaska, Minnesota. He captured his fifth win in the competition. His other winners became the duck stamps of 1990, 1995, 1999 and 2011.

With this victory, Jim joins his brother Joe, who painted the trumpeter swans featured on the 2016 duck stamp, and Maynard Reece, as the only other five-time winners in this competition.

Jim Hautman’s Canada geese triumphed over the second-place painting of a brant by Rebekah Nastav Knight, a young artist whose redhead duck painting appeared on the 2006 junior duck stamp. Hautman’s other brother Rob, whose paintings graced the 1997 and 2001 duck stamps, took third-place with a depiction of two Canada geese.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott catalogs, I’m Marty Frankevicz. Enjoy your week in stamps.