Audubon Presents: John James Audubon, Drawn from Nature

By April Gaydos

One would expect that the namesake of one of the largest bird conservation organizations in the world would have been an ardent conservationist. Instead, John James Audubon, a man of his times, hunted and killed thousands of birds for the sake of his passionate quest to paint, catalog, and describe all of the birds across the United States. His ambition was to bring the birds of America to life for people around the world by painting them as he saw them in the wild, “alive and moving,” and in actual size.

John James Audubon, Drawn from Nature
Tue, Apr 28, 1pm
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50A
Donation 60 pesos
Audubon members free

After the worldwide success of his monumental book, Birds of America, printed between 1827 and 1838, which included 435 life-size hand-painted engravings, Audubon became a celebrated painter and naturalist, especially in Europe. To the European elite, including the kings of England and France, the American woodsman epitomized the widely-held romantic view of America as a frontier of grand mystique and limitless wilderness and wildlife.

Later in life, Audubon would see the folly of this belief and forewarn the public of the need to provide protection for birds and their habitats. Some believe that perhaps Audubon’s greatest contribution was not his art or his scientific discoveries, but the conveyance of his passion for bird life that helped build support for conservation efforts that began in the late 19th century, when plume hunters were decimating North American bird populations for the fashion industry. By that time, several of the birds that Audubon had documented and painted had become extinct or were nearing extinction.

April 26 marks the 230th anniversary of John James Audubon’s birth. In honor of his passion for birds and natural history and for his work that continues to inspire our connection to the wild, Audubon de Mexico is presenting the film, John James Audubon, Drawn from Nature, on Tuesday, April 28, at 1pm in the Teatro Santa Ana. Please join us for this fascinating study of John James Audubon, detailing the dramatic and contradictory life of this self-taught artist and scientist, whom historian Lewis Mumford describes as the “archetypal American, combining the virtues of George Washington, Daniel Boone, and Benjamin Franklin” and “the nearest thing American art had to a founding father.”

After the screening, we look forward to an interesting conversation sparked by the themes covered in the film and hope to have Audubon prints available for viewing.


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