Oppenheimer Field Museum Edition
Fifty Best Quads
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
Audubon was at the peak of his life in 1840. He had successfully completed his monumental
Birds of America, a bold, highly risky and physically challenging undertaking that
in itself would have constituted a complete career for even the most ambitious of
men. He was world famous and fast becoming an international figure and wealthy entrepreneur.
He had dined with presidents and royalty. Remarkably, this proved to be only the
starting point for Audubon¹s legacy. After creating a miniature or octavo edition
of the Birds, Audubon embarked upon his final great work: The Viviparous Quadrupeds
of North America.
In the spring of 1843, an expedition up the Missouri River to the western states
was undertaken. The objective was to find, capture, draw, paint and publish a comprehensive
study of all the mammals in North America. This was accomplished with the aid of
his son, John Woodhouse Audubon. Produced from 1845 through 1848 by the distinguished
Philadelphia printmaker J.T. Bowen, the black and white lithographs were completely
Lithography proved an excellent medium for depicting the tactile realism of the
mammals' fur. Just three years before Audubon¹s death, The Viviparous Quadrupeds
of North America was completed. Today, The Quadrupeds stands as
the definitive work on nineteenth century American mammology.
In 1860, a second edition of The Quadrupeds was printed from the original,
but worn stones. Those prints lack the subtlety of the first edition. The Oppenheimer
Field Museum Edition is the first to completely capture the quality of the 1840
Images may be viewed in the
Fifty Best Quads Gallery.
Strictly limited to 300 numbered sets.
Individual prints: $500-$1,200
Complete set of Audubon's Fifty Best Quadrupeds: $13,500