John James Audubon: An Introduction

November 10, 2018 – March 31, 2019
"Iceland or Jer Falcon" by John James Audubon, chromolithograph, 1860.
Iceland or Jer Falcon by John James Audubon

Iceland or Jer Falcon by John James Audubon
(Chromolithograph, 1860). Mass Audubon Collection,
bequest of Constance Killam & Elizabeth Killam Rodgers, 1977. 

This small exhibit provides a lively introduction to the art of John James Audubon (1785-1851), the legendary artist who brought American birds to a world audience. 

Audubon's bold, ambitious, and (eventually) wildly successful publication, Birds of America, depicted every known American bird in life-size scale. Some 45 years after his death, his name was adopted by the founders of Mass Audubon and has since become synonymous with the conservation movement.

Visitors will view several hand-colored engravings from the first (often called "elephant folio") edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, as well as the copper plate used to print the Brant Goose engraving. Prints from other editions of Audubon’s works will also be on display—the folio edition of Quadrupeds, the octavo edition of Birds of America, and the remarkable chromolithograph edition of Birds of America produced posthumously in 1860 by his sons.

Isaac Sprague’s sensitive ink portrait of Audubon is a quiet highlight of the exhibit. This portrait was done at Audubon’s home in New York in February, 1843, when the two men were about to begin their expedition up the Missouri River to Fort Union, in what is now North Dakota, to draw and collect specimens for the Quadrupeds book.

All works in this exhibit are from Mass Audubon’s art collection.

On display November 10, 2018 – March 31, 2019.


Black-footed Ferret by John Woodhouse Audubon, lithograph with watercolor, 1846
Black-footed Ferret by John Woodhouse Audubon

Black-footed Ferret by John Woodhouse Audubon
(lithograph with watercolor, 1846).
Mass Audubon Collection, museum purchase, 1983. 

Exhibition Information

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 1:00-5:00 pm

The exhibition is at the Museum of American Bird Art.

963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021
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Contact Information

Please call 781-821-8853 or email maba@massaudubon.org