John James Audubon. “White American Wolf.” From The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-48. Imperial Folio. Lithograph by Bowen. Original hand coloring by Bowen. Very good condition.
A wonderful print from Audubon’s magnificent Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. This work was conceived in similar terms as Audubon’s Birds of America, viz. as a complete depiction of the quadrupeds of “the British and Russian possessions in American, the whole of the United States and their territories, California, and that part of Mexico north of the Tropic of Cancer;” another project of monumental proportions, this one to consume the last twelve years of Audubon’s life. Trekking over much of that territory, Audubon made many studies of the animals in their natural habitats and collected many skins. With the help of his sons John Woodhouse and Victor, Audubon was finally able to start issuing the prints by subscription beginning in 1842, with the first volume of 50 plates published in 1845.
The entire work comprises 150 prints in the imperial folio size, each lithographed and hand-colored with such precision and care as to give the fur on the animals a superbly realistic appearance. As the first work on American quadrupeds of this scope and quality, Audubon’s second great work is a landmark of American natural science. Overshadowed by the Birds of America, and unjustly unknown, the prints from Audubon’s Quadrupeds of North America are considered by some to be even finer and more accurate than the bird prints; they surely are prints of the highest quality and beauty.