John J. Audubon, Pl. 140 Little Nimble Weasel, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845-48, Hand-colored lithograph, Imperial Folio

$1,450 this week only (list price $2,200). Offer expires 3-5-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

John J. Audubon, Pl. 140 Little Nimble Weasel, hand-colored lithographViviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845–48 

Enjoy special pricing on Plate 140 Little Nimble WeaselPutorius Agilis—Aud. and Bach. a hand-colored lithograph after John Woodhouse Audubon from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–48). In this genre scene, a hilly rural landscape is detailed with a house by a lake is in the distance on the right and a wooden fence in the mid-ground, left, leads the eye to its main subjects, a male and female weasel in winter pelage, which are depicted prominently on a hill in the foreground near a dead branch and foliage.

During his youth, Bachman first encountered this species in a trap set near its burrow in northern New York State and observed it for several months during the winter. The specimen from which John Woodhouse Audubon's drawing was figured was procured in Rockland County, New York. In Bachman's description for this species he notes that "[t]his hitherto undescribed species is light, slender, and graceful, with well-proportioned limbs, giving evidence of activity and sprightliness; it may be termed a miniature ermine; it stands proportionately higher on its legs, and although the smaller animal of the two, has the most prominent ears; the hair is softer and shorter, both in summer and winter, than either the ermine or Brown Weasel (P. fuscus); whiskers numerous, but rather short. Head moderate; skull broad; nose short and rather pointed; feet, small; nails, partially concealed by the hair on the feet; tail long, covered with fur to within one and three quarters of an inch of the end, where it terminates in long straight smooth hairs."
(The Quadrupeds of North America, by Audubon and Bachman, Volume 3, pgs. 184–186)

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. Imperial folio size, 22 x 28 inches.

$1,450 this week only (list price $2,200). Offer expires 3-5-17.

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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 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 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.

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