John J. Audubon, Pl. 33 Mink, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845-1848

David Oppenheimer

John J. Audubon, Pl. 33 Mink, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North AmericaMink, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845–48

Enjoy special pricing on Plate 33 Mink, Putorius vison (Linn.), a hand-colored lithograph after J. J. Audubon from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–48).

Audubon kept many animals at his home for observation. In addition to a broad discussion of its habits, natural history, and geographical distribution, in the text description that accompanies his plate of the mink, Audubon relates a story about his personal experience with one, providing insights into the artist’s unique familiarity with the animal subjects he portrayed.

“We had in our possession a pet of this kind for eighteen months; it regularly made a visit to the adjoining fish-pond both morning and evening, and returned to the house of its own accord, where it continued during the remainder of the day. It waged war against the Norway rats which had their domicile in the dam that formed the fish-pond, and it caught the frogs which had taken possession of its banks. We did not perceive that it captured many fish, and it never attacked the poultry. It was on good terms with the dogs and cats, and molested no one unless its tail or foot was accidentally trod upon, when it invariably revenged itself by snapping at the foot of the offender…. It was fond of squatting in the chimney-corner, and formed a particular attachment to an arm-chair in our study.”

Audubon depicted a male and female in a wooded landscape near a rushing stream and a log cabin. In perfect condition with beautiful original color. Imperial folio size, 22 x 28 inches. 

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About John James Audubon

John James Audubon’s last major accomplishment was the creation of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America which was produced in collaboration with the Reverend John Bachman, 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.

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.

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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