Oil Paintings by John James Audubon, America 1785 to 1851
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John James Audubon, also known as Jean-Jacques Audubon was a French-American artist who was born in 1785 and died in 1851. He was known as an ornithologist as well as a naturalist painter. He documented an extensive list of American birds, illustrating them in their natural habitats. Perhaps his most famous work was a color-plate book named "The Birds of North America." During his lifetime he discovered and identified 25 new species and several sub-species. Audubon was born on a sugar plantation in Les Cayes in what is now known as Haiti. As a young boy his father arranged for him to migrate to America where he later fought in the Revolutionary war after being imprisoned by the British Empire. Audubon was a naturalist to the core, being the first known bird bander, well-learned in taxidermy, and even starting his own nature museum. While in the woods he began sketching, the catalyst to his artist pursuits. He soon developed his own method for illustrating birds: he would kill them, wire them into natural positions, and then sketch and paint away; sometimes working 15-hour days just preparing the scene. His choice medium was watercolor, but later added chalk, pastels, and gouache for feather detailing. He used multiple layers to create the depth, tonality, and nearly three-dementionality to his work. Each work was completed to life scale. Audubon has become a legacy not only to the art world, but to the study of birds. Nearly all later ornithological works were inspired by his accomplishments.
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Black Bellied Darte
Green Winged Teal
Illustration of Accipiter Cooperi
Two Cats Fighting
A Male Bobcat
Two Ground Squirrels
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