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Inscription

reverse in ink: J.J. Audubon

Provenance

Painted for John James Audubon [1785-1851]; by descent in the Audubon family to his great-grandson, Leonard Benjamin Audubon [1888-1951], Sydney, Australia;[1] sold 1950 to E.J.L. Hallstrom [1886-1970], Sydney, Australia; gift 1951 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1951
Audubon Centennial Exhibition, National Audubon Society, New York, January-February 1951, no. 34, as The Arctic Three-Toed Woodpecker.
1951
Audubon Paintings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September-October 1951, no cat.
1953
Extended loan for use by the White House, Washington, D.C., 1953-1954.
1969
Extended loan for use by the White House, Washington, D.C., 1969-1980.
1988
Extended loan for use by Blair House, Washington, D.C., 1988-1994.
1999
Extended loan for use by Secretary William Richardson, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., 1999-2001.
2001
Extended loan for use by Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., 2001-2004.
2001
Extended loan for use by Administrator Michael O. Leavitt in his office at the Environmental Protection Agency, 2004-2005.
2004
Extended loan for use by Administrator Michael O. Leavitt, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., 2004-2005.
2005
Extended loan for use by Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., 2005-2009.
Bibliography
1963
Fries, Waldemar H. "Joseph Bartholomew Kidd and the Oil Paintings of Audubon's Birds of America." The Art Quarterly 26 (1963): 345.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 164, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 184, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 306.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 215, repro.
1992
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 145-147, repro. 146.
Technical Summary

The fine canvas is plain woven; it was lined in 1951. The ground is white, of moderate thickness and smoothly applied. There is a thicker light cream imprimatura which is used as the middle tone in the sky. The forms are drawn in pencil with a dry, careful contour line. The painting is executed in very thin, fluid washes with linear details. The paint surface is severely solvent abraded and was retouched throughout in 1958, not only in losses and in the cracks of the pronounced craquelure, but with a generalized glaze to consolidate abrasion. The thick synthetic varnish then applied has discolored yellow to a significant degree.