The story behind Mangelsen’s masterwork: “Polar Dance”
Each month we will bring you moments from Mangelsen’s adventures in the field.
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Mangelsen - Images of Nature Gallery


The Legacy Reserve Collection represents some of the most meaningful moments in my life.

When Mangelsen created his very first limited edition photograph, he made the decision to hold back his most valuable prints, numbered 1 to 20, so that one day, as a career capstone, they would be offered as part of a Legacy Reserve Collection. Many of the images featured in the collection have been sold out for more than a decade, complemented by recent masterworks destined to sell out in the future.
Initially reserved for museums, conservation nonprofits, and family members, collectors now have the unique opportunity to acquire Mangelsen’s “best of the best” photographs, to own one of the twenty numbers from his personal artist reserve.

Mangelsen's masterwork titled Polar Dance from the Legacy Reserve Collection
Polar Dance was photographed in 1989 in Hudson Bay, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Enchanting and whimsical, this portrait of two wild polar bears appearing to waltz in the Arctic is another Thomas D. Mangelsen photograph that stays with the viewer and invites ongoing re-inspection.

“In November, 1989, Fred Bruemmer, friend, mentor, arctic explorer and one of Canada’s greatest treasures and I photographed two large polar bears ‘play fighting’ along the West coast of Hudson Bay. It was grey with a bitter north wind and blowing snow. ‘Our kind of day’ said Fred, as we watched and photographed the two giant bears, agile and graceful dancers, appearing and then disappearing in the near white out conditions. Several of our fellow travelers and photographer friends had decided it was too nasty, the light and visibility too poor to venture out, and stayed in camp. Afterwards, when the bears lay down to cool off, Fred looked at me and only smiled, knowing we had seen and photographed something special. Fred was a gentle, quiet and humble soul.”

Critics have described this timeless Mangelsen as being a painter-like study of light and color harmony. Polar Dance is one of the photographer’s most resonant images ever. By owning an edition from the rare Legacy Reserve Collection you will possess one of the most compelling natural history portraits of our time.

The Legacy Reserve Collection represents some of the most meaningful moments in my life.

Every image in Mangelsen’s portfolio has been taken in the wild under natural conditions; the result of him waiting for the “picture perfect moment” across decades and often in hostile conditions. Such a body of work can only be achieved by having a heightened sense of animal behavior, an uncanny feel for being able to read changing atmospherics in the environment, and patience. At a time when digital technology is, notoriously, reprogramming its users to have shorter attention spans, Mangelsen’s work stands as a testament to the rewards that can come to people who slow down their lives and wait for nature’s revelations to happen.

Add a Mangelsen masterwork to your art collection Tour dates for Mangelsen's A LIFE IN THE WILD traveling museum exhibition

Mangelsen's A LIFE IN THE WILD traveling museum exhibition begins in September 2018


March 30 | Park City, Utah: Gallery Stroll from 6-9pm
Come enjoy light refreshments and stroll through some of the best art galleries in the West. Free and open to the public. Tom will not be appearing at this event.

March 31 | La Jolla, California: Seal Talk & Walk at 2pm
It is pupping season for the La Jolla Harbor Seals! Please join us every other Saturday for a talk on Seal Biology and Behavior followed by a short walk to Casa Beach organized by Seal Society of Sierra Club San Diego. Admission is Free. Tom will not be appearing at this event.

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Traveling Museum Exhibition | Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild