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Legendary Audubon Paintings on Display at Daytona Beach Museum
John James Audubon, Elder duck.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL.-The Museum of Arts & Sciences is presenting John James Audubon’s universally appealing works. The MOAS collection boasts 75 ornithological examples, 34 engraved (after Audubon’s original watercolor studies) by Robert Havell Jr.,  the most sensitive of all Audubon’s collaborators (1827‐38).  

“We have a very important collection of Audubon works,” states Chief Curator Cynthia Duval. The Musuem’s collection not only includes a wide range of Audubon’s famous studies of birds, but also the much rarer quadrupeds which were done in a variety of mediums. The most noteworthy piece in the collection may actually be an oil  ‐  The Bridled Weasel. It is rare to find an original Audubon oil of an animal.

Importantly, correspondence between the naturalist and his son, as well as journal entries, is on exhibit.  

John James Audubon (1785‐1851) was a self‐taught artist and naturalist, explorer and lover of the wild. His works have engaged lovers of art and nature for more than a century and are unique for their naturalistic settings as well as their accuracy and
beauty. Although perhaps more famed for his comprehensive ornithological observations, he has won admiration, affection and fame for the gorgeous and accurate naturalistic settings he recorded as well as for his truly extraordinary records of quadrupeds.

For his work on quadrupeds, Audubon set out with his sons and at least one other artist to document all four‐footed animals in the American wilderness (sons completed the works after his death in 1851). They were recorded with watercolor, pastels, pencil and ink. Birds were exclusively painted in watercolor, the images transferred into exquisite engravings.

Besides their beauty and accuracy, what makes Audubon’s work so realistic is that he never worked with stuffed animals and birds (as found in most museums of the time), but usually supported the animals by wires in their original, natural stances. His method was – observe, capture, feed, further observe, record.

Audubon found it a struggle to get recognition in the US so he went to England (7 weeks of travel on a ship!) in the summer of 1826, where he finally found acceptance and fame.

America honors his memory by giving his name to the most important conservation society in the country. In 1886 this society – The National Audubon Society – was founded; now has a plus one million membership; also 6 nature centers and at least 100 wildlife sanctuaries. His ornithological biography Birds of America, published the summer of 1826, records 435 birds from the entire US.

The MOAS collection, entitled Audubon!: Birds and Quadrapeds of North America, will be on display through February, 2012.

Daytona Beach Museum | John James Audubon | The Museum of Arts and Sciences |  |

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