John J. Audubon, Pl. 121 Arctic Fox, hand-colored lithograph, Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, Imperial folio, 1845–48
Acquire Plate 121 Arctic Fox, Vulpes lagopus Bachmani, Linn., a superb hand-colored lithograph from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–48). Drawn from Nature by John Woodhouse Audubon (1812–1862), John James Audubon's youngest son, and lithographed and hand-colored by J. T. Bowen, in Philadelphia in 1847. The plate depicts the arctic fox in winter (white pelage) and summer (brown pelage) in a landscape on grassy plateau with wildflowers and body of water in the background on the right.
Produced from 1845 to 1848 by the distinguished Philadelphia print maker, John T. Bowen, the set of 150 black-and-white lithographs was completely hand colored. Lithography proved an excellent medium for depicting the tactile realism of the mammals’ fur. These prints were published in imperial folio size, measuring 22 by 28 inches. Acclaimed as the definitive nineteenth-century work in the field of American mammalogy, many of the mammals were drawn by John Woodhouse Audubon (1812–62) with backgrounds contributed by Victor Gifford Audubon (1809–60). John James Audubon trained both of his sons to become artists during their youth, and he enlisted their talents in creating this folio.
In perfect condition with beautiful original color. Imperial folio size, approximately 22 x 28 inches.
$6,500 this week only (list price $12,000). Offer expires 4-23-18.
References: The Viviparous of Quadrupeds pf North America, John James Audubon, John Bachman, Vol. III, published by John Woodhouse Audubon, New York, 1854, pages 89–96.
John James Audubon’s last major accomplishment was the creation of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America which was produced in collaboration with his friend, the Reverend John Bachman (1790–1874), a Lutheran minister and naturalist, who wrote the accompanying text. In the summer of 1843, Audubon embarked with his son, John Woodhouse, on a final drawing expedition up the Missouri River to document and depict the four-legged mammals of North America.
America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785–1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to record the birds of America. The images he created are icons of nineteenth-century art. Though fascinated by nature since childhood, studying and drawing from it, it was not until 1819, when Audubon was 34, that he fully embraced the life of an artist-naturalist. Having found his calling, he set out on a mission to create the Birds of America, exploring the American backwoods and wilderness to discover, record, and illustrate its avian life. Unable to find an engraver in the United States who could produce his great work in the size of life, that issue was resolved when he reached the shores of Great Britain. Together with London engraver, Robert Havell, J. J. Audubon and his family created the lavish double-elephant-size folio of The Birds of America, published from 1827–38, thus spectacularly launching his career as an artist-naturalist and publisher of natural history folios depicting North American birds and animals.