John J. Audubon, Pl. 72 White American Wolf, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845-1848, Hand-colored lithograph, Imperial folio size

$5,850 this week only (list price $9,500). Offer expires 6-12-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

John J. Audubon, Pl. 72 White American Wolf, hand-colored lithographViviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845–48 

Acquire Plate 72, White American WolfCanus lupus—Linn (var. albus), a superb hand-colored lithograph after John James Audubon from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–1848), available this week only at a special price. In the plate, a male white American wolf is depicted in 1/3rd its natural size. The wolf is shown near the remains of a campfire set in a wooded and mountainous landscape scene, characteristically baring his powerful canine teeth while feeding on an animal bone.

In 1843, Audubon embarked with a small party on a final expedition up the Missouri River to document the habits of four-legged mammals and procure specimens for a folio on the Quadrupeds of North America. In the accompanying text for this plate, Audubon tells of encountering white American wolves in great abundance "around Fort Union, on the prairies, and on the plains bordering the Yellow Stone river."

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 with backgrounds contributed by Victor Gifford Audubon.

In perfect condition with beautiful original color. Lithographed, printed, and colored by J. T. Bowen in Philadelphia, 1845. Imperial folio size, 21.5 x 27.375 inches.

$5,850 this week only (list price $9,500). Offer expires 6-12-17.

Reference: The Quadrupeds of North America, by Audubon and Bachman, 1854, Volume 2, pgs. 156–162

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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, together with Audubon, supplied the accompanying text description for the plates.

In March of 1843, Audubon embarked with his son, John Woodhouse, on a long-dreamed of western expedition up the Missouri River to document and depict the four-legged mammals of North America. They were joined by long-time family friend, Edward Harris, a wealthy farmer and naturalist, an artist-assistant, Isaac Sprague, and a taxidermist, John G. Bell. To avoid the winter freeze, the exploration party concluded their expedition in November of that year. In 1845, John Woodhouse undertook a second expedition to study and obtain specimens, this time traveling to Texas to procure specimens required for the folio. J. W. Audubon then spent a year in England painting from taxidermied museum specimens in collections there to "fill in" the remaining species needed. John J. Audubon's elder son, Victor Gifford Audubon, a landscape artist, provided landscape backgrounds. 

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 19th-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.

For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.

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