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Join us on Wednesday, January 20th at 2 p.m. for a fun filled session of Art Exploration Teen Edition where we will learn even more about the art of John James Audubon!

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Who was John James Audubon?

Early Life
John James Audubon, originally Jean-Jacques Rabin, was born on April 26, 1785 in what was then the French colony Les Cayes, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola now known as Haiti.

Audubon’s father was a French plantation owner, Captain Jean Audubon. 

Education
Audubon’s family wealth allowed him to receive a well-rounded education, including lessons in art, music and natural history. He developed an interest for the natural world at a young age and grew particularly fascinated with birds and would use his artistic abilities to sketch them on a regular basis.

Mill Grove Estate Philadelphia, PA
In 1803, Audubon’s father wanted him to become a businessman and he sent him to run the family estate Mill Grove in Philadelphia, PA. Audubon was able to focus all his attention on nature and his surroundings. He conducted the first American bird banding experiments there by tying strings around the legs of certain birds, finding that the birds returned to the same nesting place each year.

Mill Grove Estate Philadelphia, PA

Pursuing Art
In 182,0 he left Mill Grove in pursuit of his dream of making life-size pictures of all the birds of America. In New Orleans, Audubon abandoned all traditional means of earning a living and supported himself by giving lessons in dancing, fencing, and the violin. For a time he also taught in the private school his wife established. Unable to find a publisher for his Birds of America in the United States, he went to Europe. There he sold enough subscriptions to publish the work over the next dozen years. Although critics pointed out that his drawings were not quite accurate scientifically, subscribers in Great Britain and France were enthusiastic about them.

Birds of America 

Audubon’s eyesight began to fail him and he became steadily more reliant on his sons and his collaborators to help him complete his second set of books. 

Audubon died at home on January 27, 1851

Resources

If you enjoyed this glimpse into John James Audubon and his art and would like to learn more, join us for Art Exporation on January 20th at 2pm and get to follow along with a fun Audubon inspired art project. 

If you want to know more explore these fun titles:

Drawing birds by John Busby

Draw 50 birds by Lee J. Ames with Tony D’Adamo