The illustrations of 19-century ornithologist John James Audubon are some of the most influential paintings of nature in both science and fine art. Now, all 435 of his “Birds of America” watercolors are available for free, hi-res downloading. From the American Avocet to the Zenaida Dove, each was produced from hand-engraved plates, works originally printed between 1827 and 1838.
At the height of his success, people could simply not get enough of naturalist painter John James Audubon’s images of backwoods America and its wildlife, which he cataloged for decades from field observations and drawings from specimens. His artwork inspired real and palpable visions of the New World, lauded as transformative, bringing creatures like his Birds of America to life for those who would never have known them otherwise. The non-profit environmental organization National Audubon Society borrows its name from the artist who had such a great influence on others, and are hoping to do the same with their annual “Brink” exhibition, hosted by Antler Gallery in Portland Oregon.