Review by Choice Review
An extensive literature addresses Audubon's life, career, and artistic and ornithological accomplishments, as do many coffee-table publications that reproduce examples of the 435 various birds that appear in his life work, The Birds of America. Yet never before has a volume reproduced all 474 of Audubon's watercolors from the New-York Historical Society. These are the basis for the masterful engravings that appear in the great Havell edition (1827-38) of Audubon's work. This volume by Olson (emer., Wheaton College, Massachusetts) is an exceptionally handsome, informative, and brilliantly illustrated introduction to Audubon and his work. Concise but incisive essays delineate his 30 years of labor; examine his artistic innovations as a painter and ornithological illustrator seeking to portray the dynamic nature of birds within their appropriate habitat; analyze the challenge of drawing birds and the methods that he developed to portray avian species; and discuss the nature of many of Audubon's most significant plates from The Birds of America. Perhaps no modern study of Audubon rivals this volume as an introduction to Audubon as a field ornithologist, natural historian, or artist. The plates of his watercolors are exceptionally beautiful. A discussion of the details of Audubon's life is accompanied by valuable, pertinent illustrations. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers. P. D. Thomas emeritus, Wichita State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.