Audubon birds coming to Indianapolis Museum of Art


John James Audubon (American, 1785–1851), Robert Havell (English, 1793–1878) (engraver), ‘Louisiana Heron (Tricolored Heron),’ 1827–1838, hand-colored engraving, 25-3/4 × 20-3/4 in. (plate). On loan from a private collection. Image courtesy Joel Oppenheimer Inc.


INDIANAPOLIS – This spring, experience nature indoors and out with Audubon: Drawn to Nature at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from April 1 through July 30.

The exhibition will feature the stunning works of John James Audubon, a key figure in ornithology, American art and conservation. Audubon: Drawn to Nature will showcase 75 of the masterful hand-colored etchings of birds that Audubon observed and hunted while living on the American frontier in the early 1800s. All the prints in the exhibition are on loan from a private collection.

From owls to herons, to pelicans and flamingos, all of these amazing birds were part of Audubon’s masterpiece, The Birds of America. To capture the country’s greatest birds Audubon sat patiently in the wild, carefully noting the characteristics, habits and habitats of nearly 500 distinct American species. For the first time in history in a publication people could see the incredible nature of America’s birds through images of lifelike poses within their natural habitat. The drawings were accompanied by text from Audubon’s field notes which are quoted throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition offers an appreciation of the abundance and diversity of American wildlife in pre-industrial America including many species that are now rare or extinct. The exhibition weaves a path through several galleries that are designed to follow Audubon’s footsteps around the country between 1820 and 1836 in his quest to capture the breadth of our young nation’s avian life. Guests can also experience an immersive gallery that will transport them to the woods and swamps of Audubon’s time.

Bring the whole family to explore and learn more about birds from different regional areas. Inside the museum, guests can expand their Audubon experience with Observation Guide Books and compare their wingspan to that of popular species. The adventure continues outdoors with selfie stations of replica birds perched on benches, a life size eagle’s nest in Alice’s Garden and bird viewing stations.