Audubon Exhibit Lands in Longmont

Posted: 6/4/2011

Locals of the Denver front range area will be treated to special collection of original John James Audubon artwork and artifacts on display at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center in Longmont, Colorado June 4th through September 18th, 2011. The collection is on loan from the Audubon State Park and Museum in Henderson Kentucky and features nearly sixty of his famed double elephaant folio sized bird engravings but also compelling personal effects, letters and other belongings that help bring the story of the Birds of America to life.

Beyond the artworks on display here are three things not to be missed at this important exhibit:

#1. Audubon's Crosshatched Letter. This letter is a lovely caligraphic document dated Jan. 13th 1827 written by John James to his wife Lucy from London. It details his professional acceptance and social successes. It brought home for me the difficulties of a marriage where husband and wife were separate more than together. Letters were carefully hand written, (this one fills the page then turns it and fills it again at a 90 degrees) and treasured. This is a poignant and personal account of Audubon's efforts in a new place.

#2 The original painting for Audubon's American Bison. Often Audubon's work on the Birds overshadows his Quadrupeds. This is an iconic western American image, and a rare opportunity to see a study for this series.

#3 An original calling card. There are no addresses, or numbers of any kind on this precursor to the business card. It simply bears the name John James Audubon as well as the initials, F.R.S. F.L.S. which signified his acceptance as both a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Linnean Society, both esteemed English scientific organizations. Audubon was rightly proud of these honors especially after being initially scorned in America by the scientific community in Philadelphia.

I have been asked to guide a walk through tour of the exhibit on Saturday August 27th. Reservations are suggested and may be made by calling the museum at 303.651.8374.

Hope to see you there!




ABOUT Tam O'Neill
Tam O'Neill lives in Denver, Colorado and is an academically trained printmaker who collects, buys, sells and writes about prints.