lower right, first five letters added during 1951 conservation treatment: Audubon
The artist [1785-1851]; probably by inheritance to his son, John Woodhouse Audubon [1812-1862], Salem, New York; by inheritance to his second wife, Caroline Hall Audubon [1811-1899], Salem, New York; by inheritance to her son, William Bakewell Audubon [1847-1932], Australia; by inheritance to his son, Leonard Benjamin Audubon [1888-1951], Sydney, Australia; sold 1950 to E.J.L. Hallstrom [1886-1970], Sydney, Australia; gift 1951 to NGA.
- Audubon Paintings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1951.
- [John James Audubon exhibition for the benefit of the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine], Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1954.
- Extended loan for use by The White House, Washington, D.C., 1961-1962.
- Extended loan for use by Ambassador Thomas Michael Tulliver Niles, U.S. Embassy residence, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1985-1989.
- Art and the Oval Office: Presidential Selections from the Nation's Museums, 1960-2000, The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, 2004-2005, no cat.
- Shufeldt, R. W. "An Hitherto Unpublished Painting by Audubon." Wilson Bulletin 22 (March 1910): 4-5.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 10, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 21, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 22, 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: 14-16, repro.
The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric that was lined, possibly during the 1951 treatment. Tack holes are visible on the right, left, and bottom edges. Over a thin, white ground layer, the paint was rapidly applied in several, often thick layers. Details in the chickens were applied in broad brush strokes with some fairly high impasto to represent the feathers and highlights in the heads and feet. The layering appears to be wet-into-wet as well as wet-over-dry, and glazes were used in the areas of thicker feathers. The painting is in poor condition, probably resulting from environmental conditions and from an unsound technique. X-radiography reveals large areas of loss, particularly at the bottom edge, top center, and right, and in the tail feathers of the chicken on the left. The entire right side suffers from numerous small losses. The dark background appears to have been entirely repainted. The varnish has become severely discolored.