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Audubon's Quadrupeds of North America


John James Audubon: Quadrupeds of North America

Published between 1845 and 1848, the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America was a collaborative project between John James Audubon, his son John Woodhouse Audubon, and the renowned naturalist Reverend John Bachman. Containing 150 prints documenting the four-legged land mammals of North America, the prints were lithographed on imperial folio-size paper and hand-colored by the studio of the distinguished Philadelphia printmaker John T. Bowen.

Audubon based his paintings on his extensive field observations. He worked primarily with watercolor early on. He added colored chalk or pastel to add softness to feathers, especially those of owls and herons. He employed multiple layers of watercoloring, and sometimes used gouache. In later drawings, Audubon used assistants to render the habitat for him. In addition to faithful renderings of anatomy, Audubon also employed carefully constructed composition, drama, and slightly exaggerated poses to achieve artistic as well as scientific effects.

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