Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

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. 35.
1951
Audubon Paintings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September-October 1951, no cat.
1954
[John James Audubon exhibition for the benefit of the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine], Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1954.
1969
Extended loan for use by the White House, Washington, D.C., 1969-1978.
1981
Extended loan for use by William J. Casey, Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C., 1981-1987.
Bibliography
1963
Fries, Waldemar H. "Joseph Bartholomew Kidd and the Oil Paintings of Audubon's Birds of America." The Art Quarterly 26 (1963): 345.
1964
Ford, Alice. John James Audubon. Norman, Oklahoma, 1964: 442.
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: 186, 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: 142-143, repro. 143.
Technical Summary

The support is a commercially prepared millboard,[1] primed recto and verso with a thin white proprietary ground coated on the verso with a thin dark gray layer. There is a very thin pinkish brown imprimatura. Infrared reflectography reveals a thin pencil underdrawing in the flowers and clouds. The painting is executed in smooth, thin, opaque layers, with thin, semitransparent glazes in the reds and yellows of the flowers and perhaps some of the yellows of the birds, and low impasto in the clouds. The paint surface is slightly abraded and there are a few scattered losses. The thin natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a moderate degree.

[1] The label reads: "R. Davey, Colourman to Artists, 83, Newman Street, London," who advertised himself as preparing "GENUINE FLEMISH GROUNDS."