A great woodblock print, 1931, titled “Marge and Babe at the Fleishhacker Zoo”. Numbered 3/10. Frame measures 12 1/2 x 14 3/4, woodblock 5 x 7.
Aside from its charm, and considerable poignancy and sense of outrage (the elephant pulling at its shackle, the spectators pointing, the wary crouch of the zoo attendant), this print has great historical interest as an impression of the early days of the San Francisco Zoo. Originally named the Fleishhacker Zoo after its founder, banker and San Francisco Parks Commission president Herbert Fleishhacker, planning for construction began in 1929 on the site adjacent to what was once the largest swimming pool in the United States, the Fleishhacker Pool. The area was also already home to a children’s playground, an original Michael Dentzel carousel, and the Mother’s Building, a haven for women and their children. Most of the exhibits were populated with animals transferred from Golden Gate Park, including two zebras, a cape buffalo, five rhesus monkeys, two spider monkeys, and three elephants (Virginia, Marjorie, and Babe), two of whom are pictured here.
When the San Francisco Zoo opened during the Great Depression, chimpanzees were trained to ride elephants and zookeepers pried open big hippo jaws for applause. Eight decades later, the carnival has been replaced by conservation, and in November 2004, Tinkerbelle, San Francisco Zoo’s last Asian elephant, was moved to a sanctuary (PAWS-Performing Animal Welfare Society) in the Sierra. Lulu, an African elephant, joined her there in March 2005, so no elephants are on display at the zoo.
Born in Stockton, CA on June 14, 1892. Upon graduation from Stockton High School in 1909, Bernita Lundy studied art in Oakland with Wm S. Rice at the CCAC. She made sketching trips to Europe in 1918, 1920, and 1922. From 1917-26 she was a busy graphic portraitist on Maiden Lane in San Francisco. Due to the Depression she abandoned fine art and for 35 years produced decorative arts for Gump’s and other leading stores. She married Richard A. Tremper in 1952 and remained in San Francisco until her passing on May 14, 1989. Exh: Calif. Statewide (Santa Cruz), 1922 (award), 1929.
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940”
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