John James Audubon is without rival the most celebrated American natural history artist. Audubon devoted his life to realize his dream of identifying and depicting North America’s birds, and his work has had profound cultural and historical significance. He set out to travel throughout the United States’ wilderness, drawing every notable species of native bird. His remarkable ambition and artistic talent culminated in the publication of the monumental Birds of America in 1827-38, a series of 435 aquatint engravings.
Each of John James Audubon’s compositions for the Birds of America is unique. The Long-billed Curlew is a masterpiece that displays artistry and grace, distinguishing it as one of the naturalist’s most successful images. Here, Audubon shows talents as an ornithologist and fine artist by incorporating features which had not been previously included by his contemporaries: a cityscape. The pair of long-billed curlews pictured on a bluff outside of the city of Charleston, South Carolina.