Masterful Mammals showcases the breadth of the McClung’s natural history print collection by highlighting works from John James Audubon’s folio Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
The prints, taken from Volumes 1 through 3 of Audubon’s books, were completed with the help of his son John Woodhouse Audubon. They highlight the new standard of zoological documentation that occurred during the mid-nineteenth century as artists moved away from observing specimens, taxidermy animals, or animals in captivity, and began to illustrate live animals and plants in the field.
The mini exhibition features eighteen prints from Audubon’s portfolio along with seven selected texts. These prints depict a range of North American mammals in their natural habitat, at times incorporating native flora and male and female specimens to contextualize the animals. Many of the prints in this exhibition will be on display for the first time.
While showing this work, we also must contend with the problematic beliefs of the artist himself. Reflect upon John James Audubon and his Racist Practices.