Arts / Galleries / Society

Renowned Painter Hunt Slonem Celebrates the Art of Historic Preservation — and His Iconic Bunnies — in Dallas

Welcome to the "Hare Salon"

BY // 02.01.24
photography George Fiala

Hunt Slonem is more than just a famed painter of bunnies, birds, and historical figures. He’s also a dedicated preservationist, and his newest book proves it. 

At his longtime Texas dealer Laura Rathe Fine Art’s Dallas Design District location, Slonem delivered an illustrated talk about The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem (Gibbs Smith). The volume details multiple homes that the artist and preservationist has restored, including a seven-story 1880s estate in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; the Second Empire-style Cordts Mansion in Kingston, New York; the 35,000-square-foot Georgian Revival Belle Terre in the Catskills; and the artists own NYC studio.

Seated amidst the installation of Slonem’s newest exhibition, “Hare Salon,” 250 guests gathered to hear the artist talk about his passion for art and historic preservation. The neo-expressionist works shown throughout the gallery, displayed in antique frames for “Hare Salon,” underscored Slonem’s love of mixing time periods. 

William Thomas, Mika and Nathan Thomas_047 (Photo by George Fiala)
William Thomas, Mika & Nathan Thomas at Laura Rathe Fine Art (Photo by George Fiala)

In conversation with Laura Rathe, Slonem revealed the story behind his famous lagomorphs. In the early days of his career, the artist experimented with adding images of animals to paintings of saints. The bunnies in particular grew in popularity with collectors over time, resulting in what has now become Slonem’s most iconic motif. Now, not only are they a staple of his exhibitions; they also appear in many of the homes he has restored, as wallpapers and room decor. 

Slonem also discussed his “addiction to painting,” stating that he experiences depression when he was unable to create art for long periods of time. His dedication to his craft is evident through a comment he made to the audience:

“As an artist, retirement does not exist,” said Slonem. “Slowing down doesn’t exist.” 

Seated underneath the beloved bird painting Lories, the charismatic Slonem took the time to chat with each fan as he signed their books after the talk. He even drew a bunny to accompany each autograph. Talk about a signature style. 

Hunt Slonem_071 (Photo by George Fiala)
Hunt Slonem seated under his painting Lories at Laura Rathe Fine Art (Photo by George Fiala)

PC Seen: LRFA Dallas gallery director Janice Meyers, Hunt Slonem’s partner Eric Firestone in from New York, Maura and Dan Houchard, Addison Green, Kristi Peterson, Bryan Yates, Grayson Knight, Cole McCarter, Lauren Essex, Susan and John Long, Gentry Hammons, Haley Carruthers, Amanda and Nick Huerta, Shawn Owen, Diana Stevens, Rebecca and Scott Wooters, Pete West, Mika and Nathan Thomas.

“Hunt Slonem: Hare Salon” at Laura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas Design District, 1130 Dragon St., Ste. 130, through Saturday, February 10. More information here.

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