Discover Audubon Prints

The name of John James Audubon immediately brings to mind his beautiful, accurate bird drawings. Audubon's prints were, however, the smallest part of the work he left. A naturalist who relocated to his father's plantation, Mill Grove, in America, he followed his fascination with birds while running the family business. Audubon and his wife then moved to Kentucky, where he continued studying birds and amassing the artwork that would later form his 435-plate book, The Birds of America.

Are you a professional art seller? Sell Art on AbeBooks

This project took over a decade to complete and included 25 species of birds not previously known. In 1824, Audubon had gone to Philadelphia to try getting his work published. He failed but was encouraged by Charles Bonaparte to return to Europe to have his paintings engraved. Audubon's art found a ready audience in Britain, and money to publish his book was raised via exhibitions of the drawings and advanced subscriptions. The first series of Audubon prints came from the original copper plates used for this book and sometimes include his field notes. The finished project contained 700 illustrations of birds, 497 of which are life-sized. He worked primarily in watercolor, supplemented by chalks or pastels to add a sense of softness to the paintings. Audubon prints are now made with lithography, rather than the aquatint process they were originally created with. The original watercolors are the property of the New York Historical Society.

While collectors prize the humblest of John James Audubon posters and prints, Audubon regularly burned earlier works to force himself to improve. In addition to the nature drawings and his bird book, Audubon often supported himself by teaching drawing or by drawing to barter for necessary supplies. The rarity of these vintage Audubon prints makes them more highly valued by collectors.

Collectible Audubon prints and posters of his work are highly sought after and may be found among the wide variety of such works available from our sellers.

Why not treat yourself to a print or poster that captures the grace and beauty of our aerial friends?

Curated Collections: Audubon Prints

Discover More Collectibles on AbeBooks

Tell us about your favorite art, prints and posters!