Category Archives: Drawing

John James Audubon

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the The New York Historical Society’s acquisition of the magnificent John James Audubon‘s ‘Birds Of America‘, Roberta Olson, curator of drawing at NYHS has written ‘Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolours For The Birds of America‘. Audubon created his groundbreaking work between 1827 and 1838, which was then the pinnacle of naturalist art…

Born in Haiti in 1785, Audubon grew up in France and emigrated to the U.S. at 18. Fascinated by birds all his life, he was determined to portray them as naturally as possible. In order to get the most realistic poses, Audubon would hunt the birds he needed with a shotgun (the small pieces of shot keeping the bird intact), and pin them to a board to get the realistic details he was renowned for. With a failed business behind him, a bankruptcy and time spent in jail, he continued for the rest of his life to pursue his dream of drawing and collecting the birds of America into one volume.

audubon bird grid

john james audubon, trumpeter swan john james audubon, flamingo print in 'birds of america' john james audubon, birds of america, flamingo John James Audubon, Birds of America Overall, 120 copies of Birds of America are known to exist, with 107 owned by museums and libraries. The book contains 435 illustrations of about 700 breeds of birds and took Audubon 14 years to complete. See a portfolio of photographs on the sale of one of these volumes in The Telegraph

…below, a clip from ‘John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature’… This
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Charles Dellschau

Charles Dellschau (1830-1923), was a German-born Houston, Texas butcher by trade, who had a love of aviation and airships when the industry was in its infancy. From all accounts, he was a self-taught artist who made numerous scrapbooks when he retired, filling them with collages, watercolours and drawings of his fantastical creations. After his death in 1923, the books were discarded, then years later found in a junk shop by a university student , who was able to get them lent to St. Mary’s University where Domenique De Menil, Art Director at Rice University admired them. From there, they crept out into the light of day…

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…see more of Dellschau’s work in a post at DesignObservatory. A monograph has just been produced on Dellscahu, released in the spring of 2013 by Stephen Romano and produced by Marquand Books… This
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