DAVID J. WAGNER, L.L.C.
John James Audubon's Birds of America
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON'S BIRDS OF AMERICA
David J. Wagner, Ph.D., served as Curator for JOHN JAMES AUDUBON'S BIRDS OF AMERICA which was displayed at the prestigious Paine Art Center and Gardens from May 7 through October 16, 2016. Exhibition contents will include iconic works from Birds of America, plus works from Audubon’s Viviparous Quadrupeds, his Birds of America Octavo Edition, Julius Bien’s chromolithographs (1858-1860), and other material. Wagner’s book, American Wildlife Art, served as a catalogue for the exhibition.
The accomplishments of John James Audubon (1785 – 1851) culminate the epoch of exploration and appropriation that began with John White and were extended by the art, science, and enterprise of Mark Catesby and Alexander Wilson. Audubon was blessed with exceptional talent, but without his strength of character and his flair for showmanship, he would not have achieved greatness. Audubon distinguished himself as a creative and prolific artist, an insightful and inquiring naturalist, an entrepreneurial publisher, and the tenacious force behind Birds of America. Considering that North America has some 654 species of indigenous birds and that Audubon never made it to the Rocky Mountains, the fact that Birds of America represents 457 bird species (not to mention that Audubon painted 1,069 separate images for his book), is remarkable. But that’s not all. Audubon prolifically documented his findings in writing, and published Viviparous Quadrupeds in collaboration with Reverend John Bachman of Charleston.
As a publishing entrepreneur, Audubon transcended his times by developing and perfecting enterprising marketing and production methods, which gave rise to and, in fact, became hallmarks of publishing during the Industrial Revolution. A self-reliant woodsman who drew on his wit and experience rather than on fashionable ideologies like Manifest Destiny, Audubon was a visionary who observed and expressed concern that wildlife depletion went hand-in-hand with national expansion. Above all else, however, Audubon was the gifted artist and inquiring naturalist who was the force behind Birds of America, the greatest wildlife art publication in history.
David J. Wagner Book Signing 2010 SKBF Workshop Dubois, WY
Museum Files: Audubon legacy outshines scandal
Courtesy of Phil Weston of Weston Imaging Group, Oshkosh, for The Paine Art Center and Gardens
Davidjwagnerllc.com is the official website of David J. Wagner.