Audubon is synonymous with conservation. The John James Audubon Museum boasts one of the world’s largest collections of Audubon art and memorabilia—most of which was loaned to the Museum in 1938 and later purchased through a grassroots fundraising campaign in the local community. Now, as the collection continues to grow in pieces and value, our focus turns to conservation. The purpose of the Adopt-an-Artwork program is to address the declining state of a number of significant objects in the collection through immediate care and professional preservation. The program is supported by compassionate individuals who want to see these important pieces preserved for future generations. Many items in our collection are the only item of its kind in the world. If not properly preserved now, the world will lose a piece of Audubon’s story forever.
On this page you will find artworks up-for adoption. As part of the adoption process, you will be recognized with a plaque hung under the adopted piece when on display in the Museum gallery and receive a color photo of your adopted artwork. Please know that you don’t have to adopt an artwork on your own. You and your friends, family, company or other interested parties may jointly adopt an artwork.
Can’t decide on a piece to adopt? Consider donating to the Friends of Audubon general art conservation fund. The Museum Curator will use your donation toward the adoption of the highest priority conservation piece.
For more information about the Adopt-an-Artwork Program and donating to the art conservation fund, contact Jennifer Spence, Museum Curator, firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-827-1893.
by John Bachman
John Bachman resided in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a naturalist, pastor, and one of Audubon’s very best friends. Bachman assisted Audubon and Audubon’s son, John Woodhouse, on The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America publication, a project to document all mammals in the United States. Unfortunately, the canvas on this little painting is in poor condition. The paint layers exhibit hairline age and stress cracks throughout. Water damage in the lower left has caused the canvas to shrink and the paint to buckle. The fragility of the canvas and the active insecurity of the paint require that the structure of the painting be reconsolidated. The conservator would reline the painting using an appropriate adhesive and remounted onto the present stretcher. Paint losses would be filled and inpainted, and the surface will receive a protective varnish.
by John James Audubon
Natawista Culbertson, an Indian princess, hosted Audubon and his son during their stay at Fort Union. This painting is believed to be one of Audubon’s last oil portraits. Audubon began to lose his eyesight shortly thereafter and could no longer paint.
By John Woodhouse Audubon
Audubon’s youngest son, John Woodhouse, was a talented artist in his own right. John assisted his father in the production of Birds of America and created about half of the artwork for The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America — Audubon’s second monumental publication. The Missouri Mouse is one of two original oil paintings by John Woodhouse available for adoption. At some point this painting’s canvas was removed from its original stretcher and placed onto another one 5/8" taller than the original. The painting’s surface plane is poor and distorted by slagging because of the ill-fitting stretcher. The surface is covered with a heavy deposit of airborne grime, resulting in a grey pall over the image. The proposed treatment is to return the painting to its original dimension, a bit smaller than what it is now, and thoroughly clean the painting.
By John Woodhouse Audubon
This original oil painting by Audubon’s son, John Woodhouse, is in extremely fragile condition and cannot be exhibited in its current shape. The painting’s surface plane is poor, deformed by sagging against the original stretcher and by numerous ripples and draws. The surface is covered with a thick discolored varnish and with sooty airborne grime resulting in a yellow-grey pall over the image. The fragility of the canvas and paint layers requires that the structure of the painted be reconsolidated. The recommended treatment is to reline the painting using an appropriate adhesive and remount it on its present stretcher. Losses would be filled and inpainted, and the surface would be cleaned and receive a protective varnish.