A Tribute to Jeanette Rudy
A man of many interests and abilities, Joe Hautman (b. 1956) won the 1992 issue Federal Duck Stamp Contest with his acrylic painting titled “Spectacled Eiders.” He won again for the 2002 issue with “Black Scoter.” He went on to win again for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 issues. Though now a professional artist, he earned a Ph.D. in physics and worked at the University of Pennsylvania. Winning the competition and then meeting Jeanette Rudy unmistakably changed his life. “Jeanette Rudy literally welcomed me into the worlds of duck stamps and wildlife art,” he recalls. Hautman met Mrs. Rudy the day he won the contest. He remembers her warmth and generosity and credits her with giving him the courage to change his career from physics to wildlife art. “The joy she takes in duck stamps, wildlife, and helping others,” he says, “continues to inspire me in my art and all other aspects of my life.”
Hautman created for Mrs. Rudy a set of eight albums that display a mint single and a plate block for the 1935 through 1993 duck stamp issues. He illustrated each page in the albums with a scene complementing the stamp. This unique set of albums is an outstanding example of Hautman’s artistic abilities, and it occupies an irreplaceable niche in the National Postal Museum’s collection.
Joe Hautman lives in Plymouth, Minnesota. Though many of his paintings feature migratory birds, others portray large animals of American and Asia. The detail Hautman imparts to both wildlife and natural settings reflects his education in the sciences. In addition to his work being featured on the 1992 and 2002 Federal Duck stamps, his images appear on numerous state duck stamps and are also included in the United Nations series highlighting endangered species.