Peter Paone, Bird Buying a House

Peter Paone:  Bird Buying a House (1973) Acrylic on canvas
Bird Buying a House
Acrylic on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of Flora and Reed Landis, 2011
37 x 50 in.

Paone painted Bird Buying a House when he moved from New York City to his home in West Mt. Airy. Every morning he could hear the birds chirping in the trees. Relocating to this verdant property, Paone said he felt like a bird buying a house. When his neighbors moved from their home next door, Paone gave them this painting as a gift to acknowledge their friendship, and, after their deaths, it was donated to Woodmere.

In this fantastical scene a large yellow bird buys a house from a very small man dressed in a coat and boots. Because the neighboring houses are too small for all the figures in the painting, it is unclear whether the bird is as big as the man or the man is as small as the bird. The large cat lurking behind the house further confounds our ability to make sense of the scale in this peaceable kingdom.


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