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.
- Audubon as an Animal Painter [Third Audubon Centennial Exhibition], National Audubon Society, New York, 1951, no. 19, as Bull, attributed to John James Audubon.
- Audubon Paintings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1951.
- Extended loan for use by Ambassador Thomas Michael Tulliver Niles, U.S. Embassy residence, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1985-1989.
- Extended loan for use by John C. Kornblum, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1992-1994.
- Extended loan for use by Samuel Brown, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1994-1998.
- Ford, Alice, ed. Audubon's Animals. New York, 1951.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 12, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 22, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 23, repro.
- 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.
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.