Portrait of John James Audubon

John James Audubon Painting Reproductions Gallery 1 of 2

1785-1851

Haitian (Active in America) Romantic Painter

John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 - January 27, 1851) was a Franco-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America. (Since Audubon was born illegitimate, he was at first named Jean Rabine (his mother was called Jeanne Rabine). She died six months later and in August 1788 his father took him to France to be raised by his wife, Anne Moynet. He was formally adopted in March 1789 and named Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon, which he later americanized.)
Audubon was born in Haiti (then called Saint Domingue), the illegitimate son of a French sea captain and his mistress, and raised in Nantes, France by his stepmother.
In 1803 his father obtained a false passport for him to travel to the United States to avoid the Napoleonic Wars.
He caught yellow fever and the sea captain placed him in a boarding house run by Quaker women who nursed him to recovery and taught him the unique Quaker form of English. In that year he met and became engaged to his neighbor Lucy Bakewell, whom he married in 1808.
He oversaw a family farm near Philadelphia and began the study of natural history by conducting the first bird-banding on the continent; he tied yarn to the legs of Eastern Phoebes and determined that they returned to the same nesting spots year after year. He also began drawing and painting birds.
After years of business success in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, he went bankrupt. This compelled him to pursue his nature study and painting more vigorously and he sailed off down the Mississippi with his gun and paintbox and assistant, intent on finding and painting all the birds of North America.
On his arrival in New Orleans in the spring of 1821, he lived for a time at 706 Barracks Street. That summer, he moved upriver to the Oakley Plantation in the Felicianas to teach drawing to Eliza Pirrie, the young daughter of the owners, and where he spent much of his time roaming and painting in the woods. (The plantation, located at 11788 Highway 965, between Jackson and St. Francisville, is now Audubon State Historic Site, and guided tours are available daily.)
In order to draw or paint the birds, he had to shoot them first, using fine shot to prevent them from being shot to pieces. He then used fixed wires to prop them up, restoring a natural position. His birds are set true-to-life in their natural habitat. This was in stark contrast with the stiff representations of birds by his contemporaries, such as Alexander Wilson. Audubon once wrote: "I call birds few when I shoot less than one hundred per day". One of his biographers, Duff Hart-Davis, reveals: "The rarer the bird, the more eagerly he pursued it, never apparently worrying that by killing it he might hasten the extinction of its kind."
Since he had no other income, he eked out a living selling portraits on demand, while his wife, Lucy, worked as a tutor to rich plantation families. He sought a publisher for his birds in Philadelphia but was rebuffed, in part because he had earned the enmity of some of the city's leading scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Finally, in 1826 he set sail with his portfolio to London. The British couldn't get enough of images of backwoods America and he was an instant success. He was lionized as "The American Woodsman" and raised enough money to publish his Birds of America. This consisted of hand-colored, life-size prints made from engraved plates. Even King George IV was an avid fan of Audubon. He was elected a fellow of London's Royal Society. In this, he followed the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, who was the first American fellow. While in Edinburgh to seek subscriptions for his book, he gave a demonstration of his method of using wires to prop up birds at professor Robert Jameson's Wernerian Natural History Association with the student Charles Darwin in the audience and also visited the dissecting theatre of the anatomist Robert Knox (not long before Knox became associated with Burke and Hare).
He followed his "Birds of America" up with a companion work, Ornithological Biographies, life histories of each species written with Scottish ornithologist William MacGillivray. Both the books of paintings and the biographies were published between 1827 and 1839.
During that time, Audubon continued making expeditions in North America and bought an estate on the Hudson river, now Audubon Park. In 1842 he published a popular edition of Birds of America in the United States. His final work was on mammals, the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. It was completed by his sons and son-in-law. He is buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery at 155th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, New York.
The National Audubon Society was incorporated and named in his honor in 1905. Several towns and one county (in Iowa) also bear his name.
He started a General Store in Louisville, Kentucky, lived in Henderson, Kentucky, and witnessed the 1811-1812 earthquakes. He had two sons: Victor Gifford (b. June 12, 1809) and John Woodhouse (b. November 30, 1812), and two daughters: Lucy (1815-1817) and Rose (1819).

35 Audubon Paintings

Washington Sea Eagle, c.1836/39 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Washington Sea Eagle c.1836/39

Oil Painting
$1482
Canvas Print
$53.15
SKU: AJJ-4427
John James Audubon
Original Size: 116.8 x 84.5 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, USA

Red Tailed Hawk, 1829 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Red Tailed Hawk 1829

Oil Painting
$1614
SKU: AJJ-4428
John James Audubon
Original Size: unknown
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California, USA

Barn Owl, 1833 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Barn Owl 1833

Oil Painting
$1667
SKU: AJJ-4429
John James Audubon
Original Size: unknown
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California, USA

Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, 1824 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Colonel Nathaniel Rochester 1824

Oil Painting
$1370
SKU: AJJ-4430
John James Audubon
Original Size: unknown
Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, New York, USA

The Bald Headed Eagle from Birds Of America, c.1827/30 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

The Bald Headed Eagle from Birds Of America c.1827/30

Oil Painting
$1461
SKU: AJJ-4431
John James Audubon
Original Size: unknown
Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, USA

White Gerfalcons, undated by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

White Gerfalcons undated

Oil Painting
$1370
Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-4432
John James Audubon
Original Size: 96 x 64.7 cm
Private Collection

Rose Breasted Grosbeak, 1806 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Rose Breasted Grosbeak 1806

Oil Painting
$1558
Canvas Print
$57.71
SKU: AJJ-4434
John James Audubon
Original Size: 66.8 x 52.7 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, USA

Pileated Woodpecker, Undated by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Pileated Woodpecker Undated

Oil Painting
$1688
SKU: AJJ-4435
John James Audubon
Original Size: unknown
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California, USA

Leopard Spermophile (Spermophilus Tridecemlineatus), 1848 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Leopard Spermophile (Spermophilus Tridecemlineatus) 1848

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-4436
John James Audubon
Original Size: 40.6 x 41.9 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, USA

Four Striped Ground Squirrell (Tamias Quadivittatus), 1848 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Four Striped Ground Squirrell (Tamias Quadivittatus) 1848

Paper Print
$60.80
SKU: AJJ-4437
John James Audubon
Original Size: 47 x 55.8 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, USA

Grey Fox, 1845 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Grey Fox 1845

Paper Print
$68.51
SKU: AJJ-4438
John James Audubon
Original Size: 49.5 x 59.7 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, USA

Stanley Hawk, undated by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Stanley Hawk undated

Paper Print
$77.53
SKU: AJJ-12077
John James Audubon
Original Size: 96.2 x 63.5 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Carolina Parrot. Psittacus. From Birds of America, 1827 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Carolina Parrot. Psittacus. From Birds of America 1827

Paper Print
$50.75
SKU: AJJ-12078
John James Audubon
Original Size: 99 x 65 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Carolina Pigeon or Turtle Dove, c.1825 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Carolina Pigeon or Turtle Dove c.1825

Paper Print
$90.21
SKU: AJJ-12079
John James Audubon
Original Size: 86 x 63.5 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Barred Owl, 1828 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Barred Owl 1828

Paper Print
$77.53
SKU: AJJ-12080
John James Audubon
Original Size: 95.2 x 62.8 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Great American Cock, Male, VULGO (Wild Turkey) Meleagris Gallopavo, 1825 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Great American Cock, Male, VULGO (Wild Turkey) ... 1825

Paper Print
$76.71
SKU: AJJ-12081
John James Audubon
Original Size: 100.6 x 66.6 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Virginian Partridge, Perdix Virginiana, 1830 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Virginian Partridge, Perdix Virginiana 1830

Paper Print
$78.19
SKU: AJJ-12082
John James Audubon
Original Size: 65.7 x 100 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Least Flycatcher, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Least Flycatcher a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12083
John James Audubon
Original Size: 26.6 x 16.5 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Bell's Vireo, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Bell's Vireo a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12084
John James Audubon
Original Size: 26.6 x 16.5 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Brewers Black Bird, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Brewers Black Bird a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12085
John James Audubon
Original Size: 26.6 x 16.5 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Sprague's Missouri Lark, 1844 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Sprague's Missouri Lark 1844

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12086
John James Audubon
Original Size: 17.1 x 26.3 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Baird's Bunting, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Baird's Bunting a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12087
John James Audubon
Original Size: 16.3 x 26.3 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Smith's Lark Bunting, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Smith's Lark Bunting a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12088
John James Audubon
Original Size: 16.3 x 26.3 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

Nuttall's Whip-Poor-Will, a.1843 by Audubon | Painting Reproduction

Nuttall's Whip-Poor-Will a.1843

Paper Print
$46.27
SKU: AJJ-12089
John James Audubon
Original Size: 16.3 x 26.3 cm
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Wyoming, USA

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