Carl Barks is an American legend. Not only has he lived the traditions that made this nation great, his art— critically, charmingly—embodies the selfsame myths. Reading his comic books and perusing his paintings, we come time and again on images of hard work, determination, and the conquest of one last receding frontier. On the softer side we catch glimpses of home life: oldfashioned group portraits, holiday gatherings, young Donald grooming for a special date. Its a world fast fading, as the ninety-year-old artist is aware. But its a reassuring world, one gentler and more secure than our own, well worth preserving. Barks has preserved it with ducks.
Just now he sits in his Oregon studio, revolving a porcelain statue in his hands. Its the figure of a young duck in a slouch hat gazing eagerly into the distance. One hand grasps a pick; the other clutches a poke of gold, while strapped to his back is a rifle to protect it. Bedroll, canteen, and a rather shabby overcoat complete the prospectors outfit. His poke is bulging with nuggets, but not enough to satisfy him. He is ready for a new challenge, a fresh encounter, another rainbow.