Audubon in the Exotic West: the North American Quadrupeds

September 21, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Audubon in the Exotic West showcases the elaborate and detailed lithographs of famed naturalist John James Audubon. This exhibition features prints from Audubon’s last work, the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. The exhibition is comprised of 107 stone lithograph prints from the Imperial Folio and Octavo editions, highlighting the full range of Audubon’s unique artistic style.

Best known for his groundbreaking work in The Birds of America series, the noted artist and naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851) traveled up the Missouri River to undertake a second, equally ambitious project – creating a definitive study of the mammals of North America.

John James Audubon, Cat Squirrel (detail)

John James Audubon, Cat Squirrel (detail). Hand-tinted lithograph on paper. Lee Silliman Engraving Collection.

John James Audubon, American Rein Deer

John James Audubon, Caribou or American Rein Deer. Hand-tinted lithograph on paper. Lee Silliman Engraving Collection.

John James Audubon, Annulated Marmot Squirrel (detail)

John James Audubon, Annulated Marmot Squirrel (detail). Hand-tinted stone lithograph on paper. Lee Silliman Engraving Collection.

John James Audubon, Cougar, Female and Young

John James Audubon, Cougar, Female and Young. Hand-tinted lithograph on paper. Lee Silliman Engraving Collection.

Over a seven-month period of travel in 1843 and the result of years of endless study, Audubon produced the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, an outstanding achievement in natural history and the most important book on American animals created in the 19th century.

The book was produced as a collaborative effort between Audubon, his family, and close friend, John Bachman. Bachman, of Charleston, South Carolina, wrote the text for the volumes, including detailed descriptions of each animal, while his sister in law, Maria Martin painted the backgrounds for the works. Audubon’s sons, John Woodhouse and Victor Gifford, also assisted their father, collecting specimens and overseeing financials; ultimately, John Woodhouse even took over painting after his father’s death in 1851.

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