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ExhibitionSeeing Audubon: Robert Havell, Jr. and The Birds of America

Dec 20, 2021–Apr 3, 2022

Detail of Carolina Parrots from The Birds of America, John James Audubon

Marsh Wren Plate 98, The Birds of America, by John J. Audubon

John James Audubon’s The Birds of America has been analyzed by scholars of art history, ornithology, and history of science and mythologized within American frontier history alongside the evocative biography of Audubon himself. It has not been thoroughly considered, however, through the lens of its primary printmaker, Robert Havell Jr., who printed the publication in his London shop between 1827 and 1838. In doing so, Havell Jr. transformed Audubon’s original watercolor studies into the scientific and artistic masterpiece for which Audubon is known today. Seeing Audubon presents the ongoing research of artist, printmaker and UW–Madison Associate Professor Emily Arthur as she explores the techniques and methods that Havell Jr.used to print The Birds of America. Additionally, two volumes of a complete four-volume set of The Birds of America are on view in this exhibition. Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Brittingham Wisconsin Trust.