close

Art Environments

Collection Series

Albert Zahn, WI

 

Albert Zahn, Tree with Birds and Feather Headdresses, c. 1924–50; wood, metail, varnish, paint. Collection of Randy Zahn, WI. Figure with Feather Headdress, c. 1924–50; wood, metal, varnish, paint. Collection of Jane and Dick Cieply, AZ.

Albert Zahn, untitled (galleon), c. 1924–1950; cedar, paint, metal; 42 x 36 x 13 1/2 in. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection.

Albert Zahn, untitled (great gray owl), c. 1924–1950; paint, metal; 42 x 36 x 13 1/2 in. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection.

 

1864–1953

Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula is a bird’s paradise, as it was for Albert Zahn (1864-1953), an artist so taken with these heavenly creatures that he transformed his home and yard into “Birds Park,” an art environment defined by hundreds of carved and painted bird forms. After passing down his farm to a son, Albert built his small retirement home from cast concrete in Baileys Harbor. Between 1924-1950, Zahn became a prolific carver. He covered the house and property with hand-carved cedarwood birds, angels, woodsmen, sailors, ships, and woodland creatures.

The art that once covered Birds Park dissipated as tourists purchased items from the façade and yard during the last years of the artist’s life. Following Zahn’s death, the property fell into a decline. Although much of the art that once covered Birds Park was removed from the house over the years, current owners Robert McCullough and Karen Tosi have spent years lovingly restoring Zahn’s handmade house and collecting the works of art that once adorned it. McCullough and Tosi have generously promised Birds Park and the largest private collection of Zahn’s carvings to the Arts Center. Today, the Arts Center is the largest public repository of Zahn’s work.