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Four on the Forest Floor: Audubon’s Quadrupeds

John James Audubon (1785 – 1851), the masterful painter of North American birds, turned his attention in the last twelve years of his life toward the dynamic depiction of four-footed mammals of the continent in their natural habitat (an American first). Importantly, an 1843 voyage up the Missouri River to Fort Union gave Audubon the opportunity to collect Western specimens. Audubon–with the artistic assistance of his two sons, John Woodhouse, and Victor Gifford–created 155 images for a tome entitled The Quadrupeds of North America.

The Audubon paintings were turned over to the prestigious lithographers Nagel & Weingærtner of New York, and J. T. Bowen of Philadelphia, whose staff expertly printed and hand-colored these stone lithographs.  Larger folio images were succeeded by smaller and more affordable octavo editions, which were issued between 1845 and 1854.

This exhibition showcases over 50 pieces of the collection’s works.


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