John James Audubon
Name: John James Audubon
Occupation: Painter
Gender: Male
Birth Day: April 26, 1785
Death Date: Jan 27, 1851 (age 65)
Age: Aged 65
Birth Place: Les Cayes, Haiti
Zodiac Sign: Taurus

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John James Audubon

John James Audubon was born on April 26, 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti (65 years old). John James Audubon is a Painter, zodiac sign: Taurus. Nationality: Haiti. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


His name was given to the most famous ornithological organization, the National Audubon Society.

Net Worth 2020

Find out more about John James Audubon net worth here.

Does John James Audubon Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, John James Audubon died on Jan 27, 1851 (age 65).


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Before Fame

He wanted to improve upon the work of famed poet-naturalist Alexander Wilson and used Wilson's oeuvre as a guiding light for his career. He began his ornithology work in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.


Biography Timeline


The senior Audubon had commanded ships. During the American Revolution, he had been imprisoned by Britain. After his release, he helped the American cause. He had long worked to save money and secure his family's future with real estate. Due to slave unrest in the Caribbean, in 1789 he sold part of his plantation in Saint-Domingue and purchased a 284-acre farm called Mill Grove, 20 miles from Philadelphia, to diversify his investments. Increasing tension in Saint-Domingue between the colonists and the African slaves, who greatly outnumbered them, convinced Jean Audubon to return to France, where he became a member of the Republican Guard. In 1791, he arranged for his natural children, Jean and Muguet, who were majority-white in ancestry, to be transported and delivered to him in France.


The children were raised in Couëron, near Nantes, France, by Audubon and his French wife, Anne Moynet Audubon, whom he had married years before his time in Saint-Domingue. In 1794 they formally adopted both his natural children to regularize their legal status in France. They renamed the boy Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon and the girl Rose. When Audubon, at age 18, boarded ship in 1803 to immigrate to the United States, he changed his name to an anglicized form: John James Audubon.


In 1803, his father obtained a false passport so that Audubon could go to the United States to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Wars. Jean Audubon and Claude Rozier arranged a business partnership for their sons to pursue in Pennsylvania. It was based on Claude Rozier's buying half of Jean Audubon's share of a plantation in Haiti, and lending money to the partnership as secured by half interest in lead mining at Audubon's property of Mill Grove.


Risking conscription in France, Audubon returned in 1805 to see his father and ask permission to marry. He also needed to discuss family business plans. While there, he met the naturalist and physician Charles-Marie D'Orbigny, who improved Audubon's taxidermy skills and taught him scientific methods of research. Although his return ship was overtaken by an English privateer, Audubon and his hidden gold coins survived the encounter.


In 1808, Audubon moved to Kentucky, which was rapidly being settled. Six months later, he married Lucy Bakewell. Though their finances were tenuous, the Audubons started a family. They had two sons: Victor Gifford (1809–1860) and John Woodhouse Audubon (1812–1862); and two daughters who died while still young: Lucy at two years (1815–1817) and Rose at nine months (1819–1820). Both sons would eventually help publish their father's works. John W. Audubon became a naturalist, writer, and painter in his own right.

Due to rising tensions with the British, President Jefferson ordered an embargo on British trade in 1808, adversely affecting Audubon's trading business. In 1810, Audubon moved his business further west to the less competitive Henderson, Kentucky, area. He and his small family took over an abandoned log cabin. In the fields and forests, Audubon wore typical frontier clothes and moccasins, having "a ball pouch, a buffalo horn filled with gunpowder, a butcher knife, and a tomahawk on his belt."


Audubon and Rozier mutually agreed to end their partnership at Ste. Genevieve on April 6, 1811. Audubon had decided to work at ornithology and art, and wanted to return to Lucy and their son in Kentucky. Rozier agreed to pay Audubon $3,000 (equivalent to $46,098 in 2019), with $1,000 in cash and the balance to be paid over time.


During a visit to Philadelphia in 1812 following Congress' declaration of war against Great Britain, Audubon became an American citizen and had to give up his French citizenship. After his return to Kentucky, he found that rats had eaten his entire collection of more than 200 drawings. After weeks of depression, he took to the field again, determined to re-do his drawings to an even higher standard.


In 1818, Rafinesque visited Kentucky and the Ohio River valley to study fishes and was a guest of Audubon. In the middle of the night, Rafinesque noticed a bat in his room and thought it was a new species. He happened to grab Audubon's favourite violin in an effort to knock the bat down, resulting in the destruction of the violin. Audubon reportedly took revenge by showing drawings and describing some fictitious fishes and rodents to Rafinesque; Rafinesque gave scientific names to some of these fishes in his Ichthyologia Ohiensis.


On October 12, 1820, Audubon traveled into Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida in search of ornithological specimens. He traveled with George Lehman, a professional Swiss landscape artist. The following summer, he moved upriver to the Oakley Plantation in Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, where he taught drawing to Eliza Pirrie, the young daughter of the owners. Though low-paying, the job was ideal, as it afforded him much time to roam and paint in the woods. (The plantation has been preserved as the Audubon State Historic Site, and is located at 11788 Highway 965, between Jackson and St. Francisville.)


Audubon sometimes used his drawing talent to trade for goods or sell small works to raise cash. He made charcoal portraits on demand at $5 each and gave drawing lessons. In 1823, Audubon took lessons in oil painting technique from John Steen, a teacher of American landscape, and history painter Thomas Cole. Though he did not use oils much for his bird work, Audubon earned good money painting oil portraits for patrons along the Mississippi. (Audubon's account reveals that he learned oil painting in December 1822 from Jacob Stein, an itinerant portrait artist. After they had enjoyed all the portrait patronage to be expected in Natchez, Mississippi, during January–March 1823, they resolved to travel together as perambulating portrait-artists.) During this period (1822–1823), Audubon also worked as an instructor at Jefferson College in Washington, Mississippi.


In 1824, Audubon returned to Philadelphia to seek a publisher for his bird drawings. He took oil painting lessons from Thomas Sully and met Charles Bonaparte, who admired his work and recommended he go to Europe to have his bird drawings engraved. Audubon was nominated for membership at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia by Charles Alexandre Lesueur, Reuben Haines, and Isaiah Lukens, on July 27, 1824. Nevertheless, he was denied the support he was seeking and his nomination was subsequently rejected by vote on August 31, 1824, around the same time accusations of scientific misconduct were levied by Alexander Lawson and others.


With his wife's support, in 1826 at age 41, Audubon took his growing collection of work to England. He sailed from New Orleans to Liverpool on the cotton hauling ship Delos, reaching England in the autumn of 1826 with his portfolio of over 300 drawings. With letters of introduction to prominent Englishmen, and paintings of imaginary species including the "Bird of Washington", Audubon gained their quick attention. "I have been received here in a manner not to be expected during my highest enthusiastic hopes."


Audubon returned to America in 1829 to complete more drawings for his magnum opus. He also hunted animals and shipped the valued skins to British friends. He was reunited with his family. After settling business affairs, Lucy accompanied him back to England. Audubon found that during his absence, he had lost some subscribers due to the uneven quality of coloring of the plates. Others were in arrears in their payments. His engraver fixed the plates and Audubon reassured subscribers, but a few begged off. He responded, "'The Birds of America' will then raise in value as much as they are now depreciated by certain fools and envious persons." He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1830.


In 1833, Audubon sailed north from Maine, accompanied by his son John, and five other young colleagues, to explore the ornithology of Labrador. On the return voyage, their ship Ripley made a stop at St. George's, Newfoundland. There Audubon and his assistants documented 36 species of birds.

Audubon's 1833 trip to Labrador is the subject of the novel Creation by Katherine Govier. Audubon and his wife, Lucy, are the chief characters in the "June" section of the Maureen Howard novel Big as Life: Three Tales for Spring. In the novel Audubon's Watch, John Gregory Brown explores a mysterious death that took place on a Louisiana plantation when Audubon worked there as a young man.


The British could not get enough of Audubon's images of backwoods America and its natural attractions. He met with great acceptance as he toured around England and Scotland, and was lionized as "the American woodsman". He raised enough money to begin publishing his The Birds of America. This monumental work consists of 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species, made from engraved copper plates of various sizes depending on the size of the image. They were printed on sheets measuring about 39 by 26 inches (660 mm). The work contains slightly more than 700 North American bird species, of which some were based on specimens collected by fellow ornithologist John Kirk Townsend on his journey across America with Thomas Nuttall in 1834 as part of Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth's second expedition across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.


During the 1830s, Audubon continued making expeditions in North America. During a trip to Key West, a companion wrote in a newspaper article, "Mr. Audubon is the most enthusiastic and indefatigable man I ever knew ... Mr. Audubon was neither dispirited by heat, fatigue, or bad luck ... he rose every morning at 3 o'clock and went out ... until 1 o'clock." Then he would draw the rest of the day before returning to the field in the evening, a routine he kept up for weeks and months. In the posthumously published book, The Life of John James Audubon, edited by his wife and derived primarily from his notes, Audubon related visiting the northeastern Florida coastal sugar plantation of John Joachim Bulow for Christmas 1831/early January 1832. It was started by his father and at 4,675 acres, was the largest in East Florida. Bulow had a sugar mill built there under direction of a Scottish engineer, who accompanied Audubon on an excursion in the region. The mill was destroyed in 1836 in the Seminole Wars. The plantation site is preserved today as the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.


In 1841, having finished the Ornithological Biographies, Audubon returned to the United States with his family. He bought an estate on the Hudson River in northern Manhattan. (The roughly 20-acre estate came to be known as Audubon Park in the 1860s when Audubon's widow began selling off parcels of the estate for the development of free-standing single family homes.) Between 1840 and 1844, he published an octavo edition of The Birds of America, with 65 additional plates. Printed in standard format to be more affordable than the oversize British edition, it earned $36,000 and was purchased by 1100 subscribers. Audubon spent much time on "subscription gathering trips", drumming up sales of the octavo edition, as he hoped to leave his family a sizable income.


Audubon made some excursions out West where he hoped to record Western species he had missed, but his health began to fail. In 1848, he manifested signs of senility or possibly dementia from what is now called Alzheimer's disease, his "noble mind in ruins." He died at his family home in northern Manhattan on January 27, 1851. Audubon is buried in the graveyard at the Church of the Intercession in the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum at 155th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, near his home. An imposing monument in his honor was erected at the cemetery, which is now recognized as part of the Heritage Rose District of NYC.


Audubon's final work dealt with mammals; he prepared The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–1849) in collaboration with his good friend Rev. John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina, who supplied much of the scientific text. His son, John Woodhouse Audubon, drew most of the plates. The work was completed by Audubon's sons, and the second volume was published posthumously in 1851.


The 1991 Disney series Darkwing Duck named major locations/landmarks Audubon Bay and the Audubon Bay Bridge after Audubon.


Audubon appears in the short story "Audubon In Atlantis" by Harry Turtledove, published in the 2010 collection Atlantis and Other Places.


The choral oratorio Audubon by James Kallembach was premiered on November 9, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts by Chorus pro Musica. The work depicts scenes of Audubon's life and descriptions of the birds he drew with text drawn from the 2004 biography by Richard Rhodes.


The pages were organized for artistic effect and contrasting interest, as if the reader were taking a visual tour. (Some critics thought he should have organized the plates in Linnaean order as befitting a "serious" ornithological treatise.) The first and perhaps most famous plate was the wild turkey. Among the earliest plates printed was the "Bird of Washington", which generated favorable publicity for Audubon as his first discovery of a new species. However, no specimen of the species has ever been found, and research published in 2020 suggests that this plate was a mixture of plagiarism and ornithological fraud.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, John James Audubon is 237 years, 3 months and 15 days old. John James Audubon will celebrate 238th birthday on a Wednesday 26th of April 2023.

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