John James Audubon: Obsession Untamed Opens at Rosecliff
February 27, 2019
Exhibition Will Run March 30-November 3, 2019
March 27, 2019
(Newport, RI) The Preservation Society of Newport County presents John James Audubon: Obsession Untamed, from March 30-November 3, in the second floor galleries at Rosecliff, highlighting a weekend that includes the opening of Chateau-sur-Mer and extended hours of operation for the busy season.
The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer now have last tour admission at 5:00 p.m. Rosecliff’s last tour admission is 4:00 p.m. The Breakers and Rosecliff open at 9:00 a.m. while Marble House, The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer open at 10:00 a.m.
The exhibition at Rosecliff colorfully explores Audubon’s relentless pursuit of the birds of America, and his determination to see his artwork published. It draws upon the Preservation Society’s collections as well as significant loans from private collections and institutions. Highlights include 29 hand-colored double elephant folio-sized aquatints from Birds of America, exquisite ladies hats and fans illustrating the early-20th-century craze for feathers that led to initial conservation efforts, and Audubon’s life mask and snuff box.
In 1820, Audubon embarked on what would become his life’s work as “portraitist of all the birds of America.” A witness to America’s Heroic Age, he translated his obsession into a successful business venture that resulted in arguably the most enduring images associated with the modern conservation movement. His role as a frontiersman capturing the American wilderness while traveling the principal interior flyway along the Mississippi epitomizes the spirit of the age.
Born in Haiti – then the French colony of Saint-Domingue – Audubon (1785-1851) was the youngest of four sons of a French Navy Lieutenant. In 1803, an 18-year-old Audubon was sent to his father’s estate, Mill Grove, 20 miles from Philadelphia largely to avoid fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. This is when he was introduced to wildlife, which would come to dominate his professional pursuits as he created both Birds of America and his published work on mammals, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. In Birds of America, he succeeded in originating his own artistic style — that of the living bird in action and in its natural habitat. His influence on both ornithology and natural history endure to this day.
Admission to the exhibition is included with general admission to Rosecliff. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit NewportMansions.org