Fred F. Scherer artist | PleinAir Today
Fred F. Scherer develops a plein air painting that became the basis of a diorama at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which gave permission for the photograph to be reproduced.

As a plein air painter, you are part of one of the largest art movements in history. Learn about those who have helped start this movement in some way, and be inspired to continue your own journey.

Plein Air Heritage: Fred F. Scherer (1915-2013)

Starting in the late 1880s, many natural history museums established a practice of showcasing animals in dioramas that would allow visitors to see the specimens in an exact location rather than a generic scene. Meet a master who painted those dioramas from plein air sketches.

Artist Fred Scherer painting | PleinAir Today
Scherer painting near his retirement home in Vermont

To achieve that level of naturalism and believability, plein air painters traveled to locations chosen by scientists, where they created plein air paintings that could be used as guides for developing the large background paintings.

From 1934 to 1972, Fred F. Scherer painted or collaborated in painting dozens of those dioramas for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. After he retired to Vermont, Scherer continued to paint landscape outdoors.

Watch a documentary about the plein air painting movement to learn more about its history and evolution:


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