William Cushner never caught a trout, or tied a fly. But in 1970, at the urging of friends Helen Shaw and Herman Kessler, this professional framer began applying his artistic talent to the task of collecting and framing flies from all over the world. The man whose geometric construction-art designs had appeared in the Whitney Museum and the 20th Century Museum of Modern Art became intrigued by the idea of finding a way to preserve the ephemeral beauty of flies three dimensionally.
Cushner bought thousands of flies from William Mills and Son when they went out of business, and acquired others crafted by some of the finest tyers in the history of the sport, including Theodore Gordon, George LaBranche, Charles DeFeo, Ray Bergman, Harry and Elsie Darbee, Carrie Stevens, Megan Boyd, John Atherton, and James Leisenring. Pairing the flies with original art, reproductions, and photographs, Cushner created 216 framings unlike anything seen before in the world of angling.
These framings became part of the Museum’s permanent collection in 1985. Giving people the chance to see and enjoy the works of the masters, they not only fulfill William Cushner’s dream of preserving these pieces of history, but are also a magnificent and lasting monument to the man and his vision.
“Fly Tyer’s Bench”
19 x 7
Accession No.1985.001.096Made byArtist: Catherine M. Wood - Fly Tier: Simpsons of Aberdeen, Scotland - Framed by: William Cushner