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Black-Tailed Hare

John James Audubon, American (born Saint-Domingue), 1785–1851
Ink, ink wash, and chalk
Made in
United States, North and Central America
Drawings & watercolors
Current Location
Not on view
15 3/4 x 22 13/16 in. (40 x 57.9 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Its hind legs tensed like a coiled spring and its long ears pulled back ready for flight, this black tailed hare encapsulates the dynamism so prized in the work of John James Audubon. The drawing reveals critical aspects of Audubon's working methods at the time. Known for his exhaustive travels, he was famed for his exacting attention to detail and his practice of depicting animals in their native habitats. In this case, however, the aging Audubon did not see the animal in the field but relied instead on memory, second-hand accounts, and preliminary sketches made by his son. The colors and textures were drawn from pelts. This may account for the slightly unnatural appearance of the animal, particularly in the awkward separation of its toes.
1841 -
John James Audubon (1785-1851), NY; his family, by bequest or inheritance [1]

Dr. George Bird Grinnell (1849-1938), NY, acquired from the Audubon estate

- 1948
Donald Page, Orange, CT, by inheritance [2]

The Old Print Shop, Inc., New York, NY

1948 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchase from The Old Print Shop, Inc. [3]

This provenance is largely based on a letter from Donald Page to the Museum, dated January 6, 1948 [SLAM document files].

[1] Upon Audubon's death, a number of his works were acquired by Dr. George Bird Grinnell, founder of the Audubon Society.

[2] Page was Grinnell's nephew.

[3] Invoice, May 15, 1948 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, June 10, 1948.
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