Wild and Beautiful Creatures:The Life and Work of J.J. Audubon
Organized by the Sharon Historical Society & Museum in Sharon, Connecticut, Wild and Beautiful Creatures: The Life and Work of J.J. Audubon is a celebration of the art, science, and heritage of John James Audubon, one of America’s greatest naturalists. The Tremaine Art Gallery exhibit, Wild and Beautiful Creatures, is on view August 30 – October 13 and runs concurrently with The Life and Work of J.J. Audubon on view at the Sharon Historical Society Museum September 14 – December 13.
Tremaine will host a gallery talk Saturday, September 14 at 3 p.m. followed by a reception from 4 – 6 p.m. The featured speaker is Dr. Robert McCracken Peck, Curator of Art and Artifacts and Senior Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia. The talk and reception are free and open to the public. The Tremaine Art Gallery exhibition includes around thirty of Audubon’s stunning illustrations of birds and mammals for his two monumental publications, The Birds of America (1826-38) and The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-54). Drawn largely from local collections, including that of Hotchkiss School Special Collections, most of the prints are from Robert Havell Jr.’s original hand-colored “double elephant folio” edition. Also on exhibit will be examples from other editions, as well as one of the few surviving oil paintings from a projected “Gallery of Paintings” of the birds, and one of the rare copper plates from which the Havell edition was pulled.
At the same time, the Sharon Historical Society and Museum will provide context with an exhibition on Audubon’s life and work. The show will explore his fascinating professional and family life, the evolution of his publications, his innovative working methods, his complex relationship with the conservation of American species and their environment, and his heritage in the founding and work of the National Audubon Society and Audubon Sharon. Among the objects on display are one of Audubon’s rare portrait drawings, his favorite snuff box, and a beautiful specimen of a passenger pigeon, abundant in Audubon’s lifetime but by the early 20th Century extinct. The exhibition will be complemented by an exhibit of works by local artist Allen Blagden, one of today’s foremost wildlife watercolorists.
A program of lectures and other events are scheduled to coincide with the exhibits. Autumn programming at Audubon Sharon, a division of Nation Audubon, whose three thousand acres of preserve and Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic continue the work begun by Audubon, will supplement the exhibits.
The exhibits are sponsored by AIG Private Client Group, Klemm Real Estate, and the Tremaine Art Gallery at The Hotchkiss School.
Events & Programs
– September 7, 4-6pm. Sharon Art Walk. At various locations on Sharon Green, including the opening of the exhibition Inspired by Audubon: The Art of Allen Blagden, one of the foremost bird watercolorists of today. Sharon Historical Society.
– September 13, 7pm. Dr. Doug Tallamy , noted author of “Bringing Nature Home, will speak on the importance of caterpillars in the bird food chain. Litchfield Community Center, $10 suggested donation. Please register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org referencing “Tallamy Talk.”
– September 14, 10am – 3pm. The Butterfly Festival. A variety of lectures, field walks,ID workshops, tours of Sharon Audubon’s new butterfly house, a native plant sale, as well as several activities for kids. Sharon Audubon Center. Entry: $10 adult, $5 child.
– September 14, 3-4pm. Exploring the West with John James Audubon: The Last Expedition , an illustrated lecture by Dr. Robert McCracken Peck, Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, Philadelphia. Tremaine Gallery. Followed by an opening reception of the exhibition Wild and Beautiful Creature: The Life and Work of J.J. Audubon , 4-6pm.
– September 15, 12pm. Celebrating John James Audubon. Join us for brunch under a tent in a private garden, Sharon, where Dr. Peck will talk about Audubon as inspiration for conservation today.
– September 26, 6.30-7.30pm. Audubon’s Art and Science: A Guided Tour , by Michael Foley, Director of Arader Galleries, New York. Tremaine Gallery.
– September 28, 4-5.30pm. Minnie’s Land: Audubon’s Final Home , illustrated lecture by Matthew Spady (author of the forthcoming book Audubon Park: The Neighborhood Manhattan Forgot ). Sharon Historical Society. Registration preferred, email@example.com
– September 29, 4pm. John James Audubon’s Pictures in Prose , an illustrated talk by Eileen Fielding. For details and location contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
– October 5, 3-5pm: Drawing the Birds . Come and try your hand at drawing the Center’s raptors. Sharon Audubon Center. Please register via email to email@example.com.
– October 6, 3pm, Audubon’s Life and Work: A Guided Tour , by Christopher Robinson, exhibition organizer. Sharon Historical Society. Registration preferred, firstname.lastname@example.org.
– October 12, 4-5pm Allen Blagden will lead a walk-through of his exhibition Inspired by Audubon: The Art of Allen Blagden at the Sharon Historical Society and discuss the wonders and difficulties of painting in the wild.
– October 26, time to be announced. Adventures in Bird Photography , an illustrated lecture by professional bird photographer Sarah Blodgett. Sharon Audubon Center.