“Art of Birds” Fundraiser At Commonwealth Museum in Boston September 19

Release Date:
September 12, 2013

LINCOLN, MA—Some of America’s most important and visually stunning bird portraits—not viewed by the public in more than 30 years—will be on display for a single evening when Mass Audubon presents “The Art of Birds” Thursday, September 19 at the Massachusetts Archives’ Commonwealth Museum in Boston.

More than two dozen of renowned bird artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes’ early 20th-century paintings will be featured in the 6:30-9 pm exhibit, the highlight of a fundraiser to support the organization’s bird conservation programs and its Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon in Canton.

The public is invited. For ticket information and to learn more about “The Art of Birds” and Fuertes’ work visit www.massaudubon.org/artofbirds.

Fuertes (1874-1927), whose skill at depicting birds actively in their appropriate habitats was arguably greater even than that of John James Audubon, set a new standard for bird illustration. His work inspired the young Massachusetts Audubon Society (now Mass Audubon) to promote his paintings as a way to engage members and the general public with the natural world.

At the height of his career, Fuertes was commissioned to illustrate the three-volume set, Birds of Massachusetts and Other New England States, for which he produced a treasury of paintings. It is from among the works of this crowning achievement almost 90 years ago that the watercolors to be displayed have been selected.

The pioneering work was written by Edward Howe Forbush, a key Mass Audubon founder and its second president as well as state ornithologist, and commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (hence the connection with the Archives, which has responsibility for the Fuertes artwork.)

The event at the Commonwealth Museum is but the latest example of an historical partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Mass Audubon. In the early 1980s Mass Audubon funded the work needed to preserve these exceptional works of art. Last year, State Archives staff contacted Mass Audubon about a collaboration, culminating in the unique exhibit taking place on September 19, for one evening only.


Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.

Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.