UPDATED: Junior Duck Stamp Competition Winner Stripped of Title, Scholarship

UPDATE: Madison Grimm has been disqualified from the Junior Duck Stamp competition. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded her award and its accompanying $5,000 scholarship.

(Editor's note: Grimm's painting has been removed from the USFWS website, but can be seen here.)

USFWS says an investigation was launched after parents and teachers filed unspecified concerns about the authenticity of Grimm’s work. Following an inquiry, the USFWS determined that she used one of her father’s photos for a “graphite transfer”—a technique essentially used to trace a photograph.

The USFWS’ action is not without controversy. At the center of it all is whether Grimm’s use of a non-published photo violates the competition’s rules.

“A design may not be copied or traced from any published photograph or artwork,” Adam Grimm, Madison’s father, told the Argus Leader. “When they called and told me, I said, ‘This does not violate the contest rules and regulations. None of my photographs are published.’ Working from unpublished photographs has always been permitted. This does not violate some sort of code of ethics.”

Apparently a graphite transfer—whether it violates the rules or the spirit of the duck stamp competition—is a popular technique. According to the Argus Leader, last year’s winner, Christine Clayton, 18, used the same technique for her pintail. Interestingly, it was also an unpublished photo by Adam Grimm.

Mr. Grimm says many adults have won the official Federal Duck Stamp contest using a transfer.

“Why are they holding children to a higher standard than adults?” he explained to the Argus Leader.

In any event, the new winner of the Junior Duck Stamp contest is Peter Coulter, 17, of Washington, Mo., who painted a pair of snow geese.

What do you think: Has Madison been unfairly stripped of her title?

ORIGINAL: Best Junior Duck Stamp Ever?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the winner of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest, and I am completely blown away by the talent displayed. The winning artist, Madison Grimm of Burbank, S.D., submitted one of the loveliest oil paintings of a drake canvasback I’ve ever seen. And get this: She’s only 6 years old!

Artistic talent and a commitment to the duck stamp program run deep in the Grimm family. Madison’s father won the Federal Duck Stamp contest in 1999.

Let’s hope Madison keeps painting. If her portrayal of a bull can is any indication, one day we may speak of this youngster in the same breath as Maass and Redlin.

For complete contest results, go here.

Junior Duck Stamps will be available June 28 for $5, with proceeds benefiting waterfowl conservation.

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