The Wonderful Works of John James Audubon

     John James Audubon was born in what is known today as Haiti and was French. His family soon immigrated to America when the Napoleonic Wars started. He was a true naturalist and ornithologist at heart, one of the most famous today especially for his book The Birds of North America. During his life, he painted and repainted all of the species of birds known at that time, and found an additional 25 species and 12 subspecies of birds. But, his ways of using the birds’ bodies that he collected after shooting them were different than the ways of most artists.  He would use their bodies and prop them in a natural pose, whereas others stuff the birds, making them more rigid. He used his many field observations to help him paint the birds in their natural habitat, and usually in motion or foraging. He mainly used watercolor in his paintings but also used chalk and pastel.

  His book was so famous that today the few original copies left are highly priced. A complete, original copy was sold in London for 11.5 million dollars!!! 5 of the top 10 most expensive books ever are 5 original copies of this book. My father and I were in Chicago the other day and we happened to come upon an art gallery with many of Audubon’s original paintings and one of the original but incomplete copies of his book. The store was amazing and the pictures were selling for unbelivable amounts of money. An original, unframed, smaller-than-normal picture sold for 475 dollars! The copy of the book being sold there was made by Audubon’s family after he died and it was incomplete, so the price went down to 800,000 dollars. I thought that store was very cool and I hope to visit it again one day!
American White Pelican by John James Audubon, credit goes to 

http://www.discoveryeditions.com/cgi-bin/iowa/english/product/AudubonWhitePelican/overview.html

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