Paul J. Fair Biography

Paul J. Fair




Wildlife painter, sculptor, and photographer Paul J. Fair was born on December 2, 1886 in Freeport, Illinois. Details of his education aren't readily available, but his interest in wildlife began warly. In 1907, around the age of 21, he traveled to Para, Brazil for a job as a taxidermist in a museum operated by the Brazilian government, but was only there for three months before contracting malaria and having to return to Illinois. Five years later he moved to Berkeley, maintainting a studio in his home. 

In addition to fine art, Fair worked as a photographer for various publications and institutions, inlcuding
Life and National Geographic magazines the U.S. Forest Service. In 1915, he was involved in documenting the birds of the Farallone Islands off the coast of San Francisco, using early cinematography, which was shown at the Pacific Coast Meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Additional commissions included a stint with the Western Museum Laboratory in Berkeley in the 1930s, sculpting dinosaurs for an exhibit on the Triassic period. In 1935 he was part of the film crew for a documentary on the Civilian Conservation Corp of the New Deal. He died in Berkeley on August 31, 1953.

Paul J. Fair's work is included in the John Elliott Patterson photograph archive of the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley.