In the Audubon Tradition
Open September 13, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Entry: Free for Members or included with Discovery Ticket | Location: Union Terminal
Explore a legacy of discovery through the brushstrokes of legendary artists
Explore Cincinnati Museum Center's 200-year history through the artwork of John James Audubon, John A. Ruthven and the next generation of wildlife artists. The exhibition features original works of art, including all four volumes of Audubon's Bird of America and charcoal sketches and paintings from Ruthven. Accompanying the treasured artwork are scientific specimens immortalized on canvas by the artists, including the Great Auk, an extinct bird painted by both artists.
Cincinnati Museum Center has its roots in the Western Museum Society, founded by Dr. Daniel Drake in 1818. That first museum was largely built around the artwork and taxidermy of its first employee, a not-yet-famous John James Audubon. Audubon would soon find fame with the publication of his Birds of America. He would also inspire a budding artist and naturalist 100 years later.
John A. Ruthven made his first donation to the Cincinnati Natural History Museum when he was just 10 years old – a hummingbird. In the 80 years since that first donation, Ruthven has acquired thousands of specimens for CMC’s collections, led research expeditions and embarked on an award-winning career as an artist. Hailed as a 20th-century Audubon, Ruthven’s work continues to shape the next generation of artists and wildlife activists.
The 200-year legacy of discovery continues today, inspiring a new generation to take up the call. Over 80 wildlife artists from across North America have produced 250 original pieces of art inspired by the work of Audubon and Ruthven and the natural world around them. The contemporary artwork, each created in the last three years, is available for purchase through the Susan K. Black Foundation.