An Intro to Dr. Seuss’s Unorthodox Taxidermy Collection

The Flaming Herring taxidermy sculpture by Dr. Seuss, featuring a fantastical orange fish.

When you think of Dr. Seuss, the first things that come to mind are usually his charming children’s books, his imaginative use of the English language, and the famous Hollywood films his stories inspired. Most people probably don’t think of this lesser-known legacy he left behind: the fantastical Dr. Seuss’s taxidermy collection.

With his taxidermy wall art and sculptures, Seuss furthered his reputation for creating the bizarre and unorthodox. His collection contains names like the Andulovian Grackler, the Tufted Gustard, and the Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn — and they look just as strange and Seuss-ian as you might expect! 
As the premier gallery for Dr. Seuss artwork in the world, Marcus Ashley Gallery is happy to bring you this glimpse into Dr. Seuss’ taxidermy for sale at our gallery. These rare items present an odd and imaginative charm, and we’re pleased to present them to you today.

How the “Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy” Came to Be

Dr. Seuss grew up inspired by the exotic animals at the Springfield Zoo in Massachusetts, where his father eventually became superintendent. His 1967 book If I Ran The Zoo and his lifelong fascination with unusual animals stemmed from this past. In turn, many of our childhoods have been influenced by his love of creatures big and small.

Seuss and his wife’s apartment on Park Avenue in New York became filled with his taxidermy wall art in the 1930s, when Seuss was in his late twenties and thirties. His father would ship him parts from deceased animals from the zoo, including horns, antlers, rabbit ears, and bills.

The collection gained notoriety quickly; Seuss was already a prominent author and illustrator in high society circles in New York. In 1938, an issue of the popular Look magazine called Seuss the “The World’s Most Eminent Authority on Unheard-Of Animals.” 

Components of the Collection 

Dr. Seuss’ taxidermy is not technically taxidermy, which is why it is largely deemed as unorthodox taxidermy. While it incorporates elements of real animals such as beaks, horns, bills, and antlers, it does not involve the disemboweling and stuffing of real animals to preserve them as they were in life.

Dr. Seuss himself did not delve too deep into displaying real animal skins. Instead, he repurposed parts from naturally deceased animals from the Springfield Zoo. He used primarily plaster, screws, metal, laminate, and oil paint in his sculptures, adding real animal parts in only a select few. In his Tufted Gustard taxidermy, for example, Dr. Seuss uses no animal parts at all, opting instead for a shaving brush to create the “realistic” tuft of hair.

The collection is full of imaginative treasures. A green bird with a giant beak has a smaller version in a marsupial-esque pouch, and is dubbed the Kangaroo Bird. A pursed-lipped blue animal with dull eyes is crowned with a magnificent set of real antlers, and is dubbed the Sea-Going Dilemma Fish. The somewhat freakish Anthony Drexel Goldfarb has a set of big, floppy rabbit ears and a long brown neck. Like all sculpture, the true creativity of this collection is best witnessed in person.

How Seuss’s Taxidermy Wall Art Furthers His Legacy

How did Dr. Seuss get the inspiration for his bizarre animals? According to one of his interviews with the Saturday Evening Post in 1957, he simply “never learned to draw.” He was purposefully ignorant of realistic anatomy and traditional art techniques, allowing him to express true creativity removed from convention. 

Today, the “Unorthodox Collection” is incredibly valued by fine art collectors. Only 17 Dr. Seuss taxidermy sculptures were ever made. These pieces and their high-quality reproductions remain some of the most sought-after artworks of collectors worldwide. 

Rare and Ingenious Dr. Seuss Taxidermy for Sale at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Marcus Ashley Gallery is the nation’s premier Dr. Seuss art gallery, and we are happy to offer a number of reproductions of Dr. Seuss Taxidermy for sale. There are always a limited number of pieces, so visit our gallery online or in person in South Lake Tahoe to add this remarkable artwork to your collection.