Artwork of the Week: April 20

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John James Audubon (American, 1785–1851), Hooping Crane (Whooping Crane), etching and aquatint with hand-coloring, 1834. 38 x 26 in. Gallery 18, in the exhibition For the Birds

For his remarkable Birds of America (1827–1838), John James Audubon produced life-size images of nearly 500 species. Standing at nearly 5 feet tall, the Whooping Crane was a challenge to fit onto the page. Audubon shows the bird feeding on baby alligators, its long neck bent to the ground. Even so, parts of the bird had to be painted in with hand-coloring as its powerful form could not be contained by the etching plate.


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