Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Joseph Bartholomew Kidd (1808–1889)
After John James Audubon (American (born Haiti), Les Cayes (Saint-Domingue) 1785–1851 New York)
ca. 1830–31
Oil on canvas
39 1/4 x 26 1/4 in. (99.7 x 66.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1941
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Last seen in 1944 and thought to be extinct, the ivory-billed woodpecker has recently been sighted several times in a national wildlife refuge in Arkansas. Here depicted life-size, the ivory-bill is the largest of its genus in North America; Audubon referred to it as "this great chieftain of the woodpecker tribe," and it was also dubbed "the Lord God bird," for the exclamation it elicited from those who saw it. Audubon made his watercolor of the ivory-bill (New-York Historical Society) before 1826, and commissioned Kidd to copy it and other of his bird subjects in oil for display in a traveling exhibition Audubon planned but never realized. The copyist added the landscape background.
Inscription: [on back]: Painted by / J. J. Audubon / Certified by Lucy A. Williams / B. P. Audubon
John James Audubon, New York, died 1851; his family, until 1937; with Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1937; Francis P. Garvan, New York, died 1937; with Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1941
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