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Passenger Pigeon

Not on view

Passenger Pigeon

Artist: John James Audubon (American, 1785 - 1851)

Engraver: Robert Havell Jr. (American, 1793 - 1878)

Date: 1829
Medium: etching and aquatint on paper, hand-colored
Double elephant: 38 1/4 x 25 1/2 inches (97.2 x 64.8 cm)
Classification: Pages
Inscribed: No. 13. (upper left); PLATE LXII. (upper right); Drawn from Nature & Published by John J. Audubon F,R,S. F,L,S. (lower left); Passenger Pigeon,/ COLUMBA MIGRATORIA, Linn./ Male,1. Female,2. (lower center); Engraved, Printed & Coloured by R. Havell (lower right)
Credit Line: Partial Bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965 and Partial Gift of Nelda C. Stark, 1973
Object number: 11.1.2.C.74_Passenger Pigeon
DescriptionThis page is bound in Volume III (11.1.2.C).
Label Text:The image of the Passenger Pigeon is one of the most poignant portrayals. Audubon depicted a pair of birds, the brightly colored male and the more subdued colored female. He presented the birds in a beautiful composition of curving shapes. He showed the pigeons in the act of “billing.” The female puts her bill into the male’s. He wrote “the tenderness and affection displayed by these birds toward their mates, are in the highest degree striking.” In Audubon’s day, passenger pigeons were so numerous that he reported a flock flying by for three days. Today the passenger pigeon is extinct.

Provenance: Artist; by inheritance to his son John Woodhouse Audubon [1812-1862]; purchased December 7, 1861 by John Taylor Johnston [1]; by inheritance to his son John Herbert Johnston as of 1893; by inheritance to his grandson William W. Appleton [1915-2014]; as of November 26, 1939 (Harry A. Levinson, The Chaucer Head Book Shop, New York) [2]; purchased 1939 by Cornelius D. Ehret, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; purchased April 29, 1954 through (Nada Kramar, Washington, D.C.) by H.J. Lutcher Stark [1887-1965]; ½ interest bequeathed September 2, 1965 to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation [3]; remaining ½ interest gifted February 1, 1973 to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation by Nelda C. Stark [1909-1999]; accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art | 1. See letter and bill of sale from John Woodhouse Audubon to John Taylor Johnston (object number 11.2.105.A-C) | 2. The New York Times Book Review, "Notes on Rare Books," November 26, 1939. | 3. Owned jointly by H.J. Lutcher Stark and Nelda C. Stark until his death at which point his ½ interest was bequeathed to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
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