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Spectacular Achievements

Audubon's Animals of North America

Oct. 22 - Dec. 17, 2006painting of an armadillo by james audubon
Seventy original hand-colored lithographs from John James Audubon’s magnum opus, "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," published between 1845 and 1848, are the finest images of North American animals ever made. 

"Spectacular Achievements: Audubon’s Animals of North America" was a unique opportunity to view Audubon's lithographic works and to appreciate his skills as an artist, observer and interpreter of nature. Like his "Birds of America, the Quadrupeds" are wonderfully animated, expertly executed, and beautifully printed in large 22"x 28" format. The exhibit included animal masterpieces of art and science that are entirely American: Ocelot, Jaguar, Lynx, Male Cougar, Female Cougar, Grizzly Bear, Beaver, Black Wolf, Red Texan Wolf, Wolverine, Virginia Opossum, Northern Hare, Cross Fox, Collared Peccary, Horned Antelope and Columbian Black Tailed Deer.

In the late 1830s, nearing the completion of his monumental "Birds of America" project, Audubon began to collect material for an equally impressive study of North American animals. "Quadrupeds" proved more difficult than he had anticipated, as many native animals were nocturnal and their habits were hard to learn. He was greatly aided by his two sons, John Woodhouse and Victor and by his good friend, Dr. John Bachman, a minister in Charleston, South Carolina. The first specimens he collected were shipped to him at his home in New York preserved in barrels of rum. He would later make the journey up the Missouri River in the footsteps of George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, and Alfred Jacob Miller to personally document the little-known wildlife of the frontier. Published between 1845 and 1848 by John T. Bowen of Philadelphia, only 300 complete sets of 150 images were sold by subscription, making the works very rare. "Spectacular Achievements" was the second exhibition of Audubon’s original lithographs shown in the Cannon Art Gallery, following an enormously popular exhibition of "Birds of America" in 2002. The Carlsbad exhibition was part of a twelve-city national tour over a thirty-month period; the tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Contact Information

William D. Cannon Art Gallery
Karen McGuire
Curator of exhibitions
karen.mcguire@carlsbadca.gov
760-602-2021
760-602-0525 fax
Get directions

Carlsbad City Library complex
1775 Dove Lane
Carlsbad, CA 92011

General Information

National quality with a regional focus, variety and balance, introduction of new work to the area, engaging young audiences with its museum quality exhibitions William D. Cannon Art Gallery is a focal point for the visual arts in north county.

Business hours
Tuesday Saturday
11 a.m. 5 p.m.
Sunday
1 p.m. 5 p.m.