Origins of John James Audubon (08:05)
Audobon was born in Saint-Dominique, Haiti and became fascinated with wildlife in childhood. As his father's only son, he was sent to the U.S. to avoid the draft in France. Once there, he commenced wildlife studies and met Lucy Bakewell, who later became his wife; Audubon and Bakewell moved west and opened a store.
Early Paintings (06:10)
Audubon became one of the most wealthy men in Henderson, only to become destitute later following a failed business. He began a quest to paint and document every bird in North America. Audobon would observe birds in their natural environment for hours and days.
Occupation in New Orleans (09:16)
Audubon began tutoring a young girl and documenting regional birds. He fine tuned his skills and created more realistic pieces; Audubon brought his family to join him in Louisiana.
Audobon's Search for Publication (07:52)
Following his rejection by all major American publishers, Audubon decided to travel to Europe. Once overseas, he took on the persona of an American woodsman to attract the interest of socialites. Audubon was accepted by a London engraver and began publishing his work through subscriptions.
Audubon's Family Conflicts (05:17)
Audubon began writing conflicting letters to his wife back home and they began to contemplate divorce. He returned to America hoping to bring his family back to Europe and finish painting the birds of America to complete his book.
Audubon Brand (07:48)
In Europe, Lucy quit teaching and she and her sons became involved in Audubon's business. Audubon tired of building his brand and ran out of images to engrave; he returned to America to study and paint.
Audubon's Conservation Legacy (08:48)
In 1838, "The Birds of America" project was completed. Audubon and his family returned to America as national heroes. Audubon became known as an extraordinary conservationist; he wrote about America's changing natural landscape.
Credits: Audubon (00:37)
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