Skip to main content

New Schedule: Starting Tuesday, Jan. 18, the Portrait Gallery will be open Thursdays - Sundays, 11:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. See for complete Smithsonian listings.

John James Audubon

John James Audubon
Unidentified Artist
Copy after
John Woodhouse Audubon, 1812 - 1862
John James Audubon, 26 Apr 1785 - 27 Jan 1851
c. 1841
Oil on canvas
Frame (Verified): 91.4 x 77.5 x 10.8cm (36 x 30 1/2 x 4 1/4")
Stretcher: 71.3 × 55.6 × 2.2 cm (28 1/16 × 21 7/8 × 7/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; gift of the Avalon Foundation through the generosity of Ailsa Mellon Bruce, 1951
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
One of the tasks of early American science was to discover and catalog the flora and fauna of this uncharted land. Working diligently to make the natural world wholly known, artist-naturalists such as George Ord, Alexander Wilson, and the Peale family created faithful renditions of America's birds and animals. The flamboyant John James Audubon, son of a Frenchman and his Creole mistress, revolutionized this dry academic field by creating images of birds with all the color and bravura style of the Romantic period. Audubon frequently got the science wrong-he feuded continually with the earlier generation of ornithologists-but the aesthetic achievement of his Birds of America (1827) cannot be denied. Audubon was a major contributor to the Romantic interpretation of the American landscape by both writers and artists, which took place after about 1820.
(Bland Gallery Inc., New York); purchased by NGA through gift from Avalon Foundation 6 July 1951; transferred 1965 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection