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Provenance

Probably the artist [1812-1862]; probably by inheritance to his wife, Caroline Hall Audubon [1811-1899], Salem, New York; by inheritance to their daughters, Maria Rebecca Audubon [1843-1925] and Florence Audubon [1853-1949]; Maria and Florence's nephew, Leonard Benjamin Audubon [1888-1951], Sydney, Australia; sold 1950 to E.J.L. Hallstrom [1886-1970], Sydney, Australia; gift 1951 to NGA.

[1] Handwritten in ink on one label on the back of the painting is: "Maria and Florence Audubon / from Caroline Audubon." Handwritten in pencil on a second label is: "For Leonard From Aunties." John James Audubon had four children, one of whom was John Woodhouse Audubon [1812-1862]. The younger Audubon married twice; he had two children with his first wife, Maria Bachman [1816-1840], and seven with his second wife, Caroline Hall [1811-1899]. Of the seven, five lived to adulthood; Maria Rebecca [1843-1925] and Florence [1853-1949] were two of the daughters, and William Bakewell Audubon [1847-1932] was one of the sons. William left the United States for Australia in either 1880 or 1882, and he began a new life raising sheep near Yass, a small town about 250 miles west of Sydney. He married Lucy Ann Grovenor in 1885, and they had two children, Leonard Benjamin and Ella Caroline. According to a letter of 9 July 1952 from Ella Caroline Audubon to John Walker (in NGA curatorial files), Audubon paintings were sent to Australia in 1899 or 1900, which would correspond with the death of Caroline Hall Audubon on 1 February 1899. Miss Audubon's letter states that her father arrived in Australia 8 April 1880. However, Walter Audubon gives 21 January 1882 as the date that William Bakewell Audubon sailed for Australia, and he writes also that it was William who "brought with him many paintings by his grandfather, John James Audubon" (see Walter Audubon, Last of the Audubon Line: The Descendants of John Woodhouse Audubon, Franklin, North Carolina, 2002: 72-79).

Exhibition History
1951
Audubon as an Animal Painter [Third Audubon Centennial Exhibition], National Audubon Society, New York, 1951, no. 19, as Bull, attributed to John James Audubon.
1951
Audubon Paintings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1951.
1985
Extended loan for use by Ambassador Thomas Michael Tulliver Niles, U.S. Embassy residence, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1985-1989.
1992
Extended loan for use by John C. Kornblum, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1992-1994.
1994
Extended loan for use by Samuel Brown, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1994-1998.
Bibliography
1951
Ford, Alice, ed. Audubon's Animals. New York, 1951.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 12, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 22, repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 23, repro.
1996
Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 23, color repro. 24.
Technical Summary

The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric. The ground is a warm, off-white layer of moderate thickness which has a pebbly texture in the sky. In the foreground, paint was applied thinly in a series of transparent glazes, one over the other. Trees and bushes are painted on top of this more thinly painted passage. The sky was painted more thickly, with low impasto blended wet-into-wet. The bull was added last in heavier, wet-into-wet paint. Pentimenti are evident in the tree on the left side and in the change of the position of the foreground path. Inpainting covers a number of relatively large losses, the biggest of which is found in the sky to the right of the trees. There is a tear inside the left stretcher bar. In 1989 the painting was relined and a new varnish coating was applied over remnants of an old, discolored varnish layer.