In this intimate gallery, visitors will have the unique experience of viewing John James Audubon’s spectacular watercolor models for the 435 plates of The Birds of America (1827–38) with their corresponding plates from the double-elephant-folio series, engraved by Robert Havell Jr. It will feature monthly migrations in publication order that showcase the artist’s creative process and his contributions to ornithological illustration. The initial centerpiece on view will be the season-appropriate Wild Turkey: Audubon’s watercolor and the engraving, together with the copper plate on loan from the American Museum of Natural History. Other works from New-York Historical’s collection, the world’s largest repository of Auduboniana, will illuminate Audubon’s process, and bird calls courtesy of Macaulay Library of Cornell Lab of Ornithology will animate the environment. Curated by Roberta J.M. Olson, curator of drawings.
Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.