Audubon , John James
(1785–1851) American ornithologist and naturalist
The illegitimate son of a French sea captain and his Creole mistress, Audubon was born in Les Cayes on the Caribbean island of Haiti and was brought up in Nantes in his father's family. He studied painting in Paris, spending six months in the studio of Jacques Louis David. In 1803, to escape conscription into Napoleon's army, Audubon was sent to Pennsylvania where his father owned a farm. Neither the farm nor any of Audubon's other business interests flourished and he was declared bankrupt in 1819 and imprisoned.
No doubt one cause of Audubon's commercial failure was the time spent hunting and observing birds and other animals in the wild. The first hint that his skills as an artist and naturalist could be combined to make money came in 1810 when Alexander Wilson passed through Louisville, Louisiana, where Audubon was operating a general store. Wilson was looking for subscribers to his lavishly illustrated American Ornithology (9 vols; 1808–14).
By 1820 Audubon had decided to publish his own collection of animals and birds. He spent a further four years traveling through Louisiana and Mississippi shooting specimens. As no American publisher appeared to be interested in his work, Audubon took his paintings to Britain in 1826. He eventually found a printer in Edinburgh willing to work on his ‘double elephant size’ engravings (39'' × 29''). Sets of five plates were sold to subscribers for 2 guineas to finance the next set. In this way 200 full sets of Birds of America (1827–38) were published in Britain in 87 parts with 435 plates. Full sets are rarely available for sale – when auctioned they are unlikely to raise less than a million dollars.
Audubon returned to America in 1839, where he bought an estate on the Hudson and began to prepare his Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (3 vols; 1845–48).

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Audubon,John James — Au·du·bon (ôʹdə bŏn , bən), John James. 1785 1851. Haitian born American ornithologist and artist whose extensive observations of eastern North American avifauna led to the publication of The Birds of America (1827 1838), a collection of his… …   Universalium

  • Audubon, John James — orig. Fougère Rabin or Jean Rabin later Jean Jacques Fougère Audubon born April 26, 1785, Les Cayes, Saint Domingue, West Indies died Jan. 27, 1851, New York, N.Y., U.S. U.S. ornithologist, artist, and naturalist known for his drawings and… …   Universalium

  • Audubon, John James — ► (1785 1851) Naturalista estadounidense. Destaca por sus estudios acerca de los pájaros y cuadrúpedos de América. * * * orig. Fougère Rabin o Jean Rabin post. Jean Jacques Fougère Audubon (26 abr. 1785, Les Cayes, Saint Domingue, Indias… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Audubon, John James —  (1785–1851) American artist and naturalist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • John James Audubon — John James Audubon, mit vollem Namen John James La Forest Audubon, (* 26. April 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti; † 27. Januar 1851 in New York) war ein US amerikanischer Ornithologe und Zeichner. Sein Hauptwerk ist Die Vögel Amerikas. Er beschrieb auch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John James Audubon — Nacimiento 26 de abril 1785 Les Cayes, Saint Domingue (actual …   Wikipedia Español

  • John James LaForest Audubon — John James Audubon John James La Forest Audubon (* 26. April 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti; † 27. Januar 1851 in New York) war ein US amerikanischer Ornithologe und Zeichner. Sein Hauptwerk sind Die Vögel Amerikas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John James La Forest Audubon — John James Audubon John James La Forest Audubon (* 26. April 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti; † 27. Januar 1851 in New York) war ein US amerikanischer Ornithologe und Zeichner. Sein Hauptwerk sind Die Vögel Amerikas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John James Laforest Audubon — John James Audubon John James La Forest Audubon (* 26. April 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti; † 27. Januar 1851 in New York) war ein US amerikanischer Ornithologe und Zeichner. Sein Hauptwerk sind Die Vögel Amerikas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John James Audubon — Pour les articles homonymes, voir John, James et Audubon. John James Audubon John James Audubon (ou Jean Jacques …   Wikipédia en Français

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