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  Ogden Pleissner. “June Trout Fishing,” 1967.  
Pleissner Trout Fishing
A Fine Lithograph of Trout Fishing by Ogden Pleissner

Ogden Pleissner. “June Trout Fishing,” 1967. Color lithograph. Edition of 350. Sheet size: 22 7/8 x 30 3/4" with full margins. Frame size: 26 1/2 x 34 3/4". Privately published by Theodore Gordon Flyfishers. Printed by Frost & Reed, Ltd., Bristol and London, England. Signed by artist in pencil below the image at l. r.: Ogden M. Pleissner. Publisher’s and printer’s embossed chops. Fine. Handsome archival presentation in original frame with new mat and museum-quality OP3 Plexiglas.


An avid hunter and fisherman, Ogden Pleissner applied his gifts as an artist in the realist tradition of Eakins and Homer to the depiction of the sporting life, creating some of the finest shooting and fishing scenes of the twentieth century.

Born and raised in Brooklyn in 1905, Pleissner was a city boy who studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan. As a teen, however, he spent summers at a boys' camp in Dubois, Wyoming, where he frequently sketched and painted the magnificent scenery that surrounded him. His experiences in the West instilled a life-long love of the outdoors and influenced his career in the direction of landscape painting, particularly as a backdrop for sporting scenes. He brought to these landscapes a fine sense of composition, superb draftsmanship, an exacting eye for detail, and the masterful use of color. He also possessed an uncanny ability to capture the human body in action, a skill that was well suited for images of the “gentlemen’s pursuits” to which he himself was devoted. Because he knew first-hand the proper techniques for shooting and fly fishing, he was singularly gifted at capturing the excitement and tension of the sporting moment—the bird just flushed, the trout just hooked.

The lithograph offered here depicts a quieter moment in an angler’s day, the moment of anticipation after the line has been cast. Based on one of Pleissner’s superb watercolors, the lithograph shows a fly fisherman who has waded into a calm place created by a natural dam of dead branches in a rapidly flowing river. The season is June, a peak time for trout fishing when the black flies have hatched and the days are long.

Pleissner produced the print in 1967—at the peak of his career—for Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc., in the year of their incorporation. The nonprofit angling organization was founded to promote catch-and-release fly fishing and sound conservation practices for streams and rivers. Given the organization’s investment in the preservation of fly-fishing standards, the choice of Pleissner to create their inaugural image was meaningful. Here was an artist who understood the nuances of the sport. With his artistic sensitivity to weather, time of year, and light, he was able to locate the sportsman in a setting not only of great natural beauty but also with such realism that the image can call forth in any angler a memory of the best fishing day he ever had.

This is a wonderful print by one of the best interpreters of the American sporting life, whose exceptional skills produced work admired equally by art collectors and fishing enthusiasts.

Ref.: Peter Bergh, The Art of Ogden M. Pleissner (Boston: David R. Godine, 1984), pp. 73, 99, 107–108; Limited Edition Print no. 16, illustrated on p. 108.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot