Knightia eocena, Priscacara liops, Mioplosus labracoides
    Green River Formation, Wyoming, USA

    This superb trio of mural wall hangings has been fashioned from 7¾-inch square tiles of pale limestone taken from the "18-inch layer" of the Green River Quarry in Wyoming. This quarry is famous, of course, as the abundant source of some of the very finest aquatic fossils to be found anywhere in the world, and the present pieces perfectly uphold that reputation. Known today as the "Fossil Lake", this 25,000 square mile formation was once an interconnected system of inland freshwater lakes during the Eocene epoch, 35-55 million years ago. Amidst the plain tiles used for this set of wall murals are 21 each displaying a finely- preserved specimen of the Knightia, a sprat-like fish that was plentiful in these waters and so closely associated with the area that it was chosen for the state fossil of Wyoming. The tiles have been arranged with the utmost artistry to give an overwhelming sense of movement, as though the school of fish were swimming gracefully from left to right, across all three of the panels. Above them, heading in the opposite direction, are five plump Priscacara, a form of prehistoric perch and another familiar and popular presence in these waters. These guileless fish had better watch out however, for towards the bottom of the left-hand panel, on a special, larger tile, lurks a Mioplosus, a voracious predator that easily outsizes its prey at 11½ inches long. This species, a relative of the modern pike, is far less common amongst the Green River fossils but displays no less the excellence of preservation and preparation for which specimens from this locality are renowned. The whole piece is a masterful marriage of time's wondrous transformation of living matter into eternal stone, the craftsman's art of drawing the finest details out of the intransigent rock, and the artistry of the designer who marshals all these elements to create such a superlatively decorative wall display. The original rough texture of the stone only adds to the aesthetic appeal, and framed in wood each panel measures 65 5/8 x 33 5/8 inches.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2009
    17th-18th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,596

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