About the Honoree
Artist, writer, naturalist, and Yale graduate James Prosek made his authorial debut at nineteen years of age with Trout: an Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), which featured seventy of his watercolor paintings of the trout of North America. Prosek's work has been shown at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NY, Gerald Peters Gallery, NY and Santa Fe; the Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, The Addison Gallery of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC among others. Prosek has written for The New York Times and National Geographic Magazine and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, the seventeenth-century author of The Compleat Angler. He co-founded a conservation initiative called World Trout in 2004 with Yvon Chouinard, the owner of Patagonia clothing company, which raises money for coldwater habitat conservation through the sale of T-shirts featuring trout paintings. His book Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish, published in September 2010 was a New York Times Book Review editor's choice, and is the subject of a documentary for PBS series "Nature" that aired in 2013. He is currently working on a book about how we name and order the natural world and an article for National Geographic on the Sargasso Sea.
His latest book (Ocean Fishes, Rizzoli, 2012) is a collection of paintings of 35 Atlantic fishes, all of which were painted life size based on individual specimens he traveled to see. In autumn of 2012 Prosek was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinction in Natural History Art from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Prosek is a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and a member of the advisory board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
A Journey Fulfilled
James Prosek's Compleat Angler journey started with this Peabody Award-winning video and came full-circle on October 26th when he received the 2016 Izaak Walton Award.
Highlights of the Night
More than one hundred people gathered in New York City on October 26 to see the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s presentation of the 2016 Izaak Walton Award to James Prosek.
Nick Lyons, in his opening remarks, said, “James has pursued and caught and painted an astonishing array of fish worldwide; and his interests have increasingly broadened from fly fishing for trout to other natural creatures, from his brilliant book on eels, one on ocean fishes, another on fishing the forty-first parallel, to the hybrids and crossbreeds his fertile imagination has created, like a flying fox and the trout bird. I have had the good fortune to know and publish a huge number of prominent writers about fishing, but not one had James’s intense and ever-evolving interest in all aspects of the natural world—nor were any as multitalented, so full of endless curiosity and surprise.” Lyons went on to hold an interview session with our honoree that was both enlightening and entertaining.
Prosek was a gracious recipient, even treating the evening’s guests to a song from Walton’s work. AMFF would like to thank the estimable David Nichols and his wonderful event committee (Foster Bam, Jane Cooke, Jerry Klauer, Wayne Nordberg, and Richard Tisch) for putting such a meaningful evening together.
The live auction is always a highlight under the smooth gavel of Heritage Auction’s and Antique Roadshow’s Nick Dawes, and this evening was no exception. A special thank you goes to Paul and Anke Volcker for donating lunch for four with the former chair of the Federal Reserve, which resulted in a friendly bidding war won by James’s sister, Jen Prosek. The live auction culminated in a paddle raise for the museum’s art acquisition fund, and every bidder was given a signed, limited-edition print of an original Prosek work commissioned by David Nichols especially for the event.
As always, we must also express our gratitude to the live-auction donors: Janet Mavec and Wayne Nordberg, the Three Stallion Inn, Anne Lovett and Steve Woodsum, Nick Dawes, and James Prosek himself, who gave two studio tours followed by dinner for a couple of our lucky and generous guests. We would also like to thank our silent auction donors and providers: Rob Oden, Ted Turner, Steve and Sandra Bogdan, REC Components, Parlor Skis, Jim Klug, Urban Angler, Yoshi Akiyama, Anthony Magardino, Beaverkill Rod Company, and Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures. Finally, the success of this event comes down to the generosity of the attendees, so thank you so much to all who were present.
Our favorite shots from the night.
- Foster Bam
- Jane Cook
- Jerry Klauer
- David Nichols (chair)
- E. Wayne Nordberg
- Richard Tisch