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John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Plate 305; American Coot
From: Birds of North America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories
New York & Philadelphia: J. J. Audubon and J. B. Chevalier, 1839-44
Sheet Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
Frame Dimensions: 12.25 x 15.25 in.
A tireless entrepreneur, John James Audubon devoted himself to an unprecedented project, becoming the first to attempt the seemingly insurmountable task of documenting all the bird life of North America. This task grew out of a genuine and passionate interest in his subjects, and Audubon determined not only to complete a project that no one else had undertaken, but to approach it in an entirely innovative manner. His style and his persona were much like the notion of America itself: ambitious, animated, larger than life. The artist’s tireless efforts and remarkable talent culminated in the publication in London of his 435-plate Birds of America (1827-1838), undoubtedly the greatest work on birds ever produced. The celebration of this quintessentially American work, and the enterprising, talented artist who created it, has grown steadily since the time of its publication.