A John James Audubon print in the “Audubon and the Art of Birds” exhibit at the Bell Museum of Natural History.

Provided by Bell Museum of Natural History,

Art spotlight: 'Audubon and the Art of Birds' at Bell Museum

  • Article by: MARY ABBE
  • Star Tribune
  • September 27, 2013 - 3:31 PM

‘Audubon and the Art of Birds’

Opening: The audacity of John James Audubon in setting out to paint every bird in America was matched by his bravura success in persuading European grandees to pay for the project. Subscribers to his first edition of “Birds of America” included King Charles X of France, Earl Spencer (an ancestor of the late Princess Diana) and American intellectual Daniel Webster. Only about 120 copies of that first 1838 edition survive, some of which have sold for upward of $11 million. Recently restored, hand-colored Audubon engravings from a later, almost equally rare, edition of the book are featured in a new two-part exhibition opening this week at the Bell Museum. Because of the light sensitivity of the Audubon images, 35 will be shown in the first half of the exhibit and a different 35 in the second half. The 100-piece show includes bird woodcuts, etchings and paintings by various artists from the Renaissance to the present. (Preview reception, 5 p.m. Thu.; talks by curator Don Luce and Audubon biographer William Souder, 6:30 p.m. Thu. $10-$15. Exhibition opens Sat. Free-$6. Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, 17th and University Avs. SE., Mpls. Part 1 ends Jan. 19; Part 2 runs Feb. 1-June 8. 612-626-9660,


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