Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Joseph Bartholomew Kidd American
After John James Audubon American, born Haiti

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.

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, Joseph Bartholomew Kidd (1808–1889), Oil on canvas, American

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