Longmont Museum Announces John James Audubon American Artist & Naturalist Exhibition

The Longmont Museum will present John James Audubon: American Artist & Naturalist a new exhibition on view June 4 – September 18, 2011.

The exhibition presents 64 prints from Audubon’s first edition, plus four large animal prints from his later Imperial Quadrupeds edition and prints from later editions and several of Audubon’s contemporaries. This exhibition also features several original oil paintings by Audubon, as well as personal belongings such as the silver cup presented to his engraver upon completion of the publication of volume two of “The Birds of America.”

John James Audubon (1785-1851) is known today for his remarkable work “The Birds of America.” He led a complex life, starting as the illegitimate child of a French sea captain in what is now Haiti, traveling to France and then to Pennsylvania to start anew after the French revolution, and embarking on a lifelong study of birds and other animals that would eventually bring him fame and fortune. A chance encounter with ornithologist Alexander Wilson in 1810 led Audubon to embark on a vast project, a life-sized color folio of all the birds of North America.

His project would take 28 years to come to fruition. He spent 16 years studying and drawing birds, pioneering a lifelike portrayal of them, unlike the stiff and awkward bird portraits of his contemporaries. Unable to find a publisher in the U.S., he traveled to England, and after a strike halted work at his first engraver, began a partnership with the English engraver Robert Havell Jr. In June of 1838, his magnum opus, “The Birds of America,” was published to wide acclaim.

Audubon’s legacy is remarkable. By drawing attention to the majesty of the birds and mammals of North America, he inspired a conservation movement. The Audubon Society was founded in his honor, and his name remains synonymous with conservation and bird preservation to this day.

Image: John James Audubon, Owl, Longmont Museum & Cultural Center

Longmont Museum & Cultural Center
400 Quail Road
Longmont CO 80501

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