John James Audubon

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John James Audubon
1785-1851
Eastern Woodchuck: Female and young. Verso: Sketch of tail
Watercolor, opaque watercolor and graphite on dark yellow-cream wove paper; verso: graphite.
23 1/16 x 33 11/16 inches (584 x 855 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1910.
1976.12:6

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Inscription: 
Inscribed in graphite at upper right, "Front foot seen / from / beneath // Adult Males. // Hind foot of the ? jun...side / from beneath". Inscribed in graphite at upper center, "Inscisors seen in front / / inscisors seen in...?" Inscribed in graphite at bottom left, "New York, July 11th ("th" superscript) 1841 / J.J.A. // The Wood-Chuck, young about 6 weeks old. / Arctomys monax. Smelin". Inscribed on verso in dark brown pen and ink across center, "When these animals apprehend danger and come in contact with it, / They issue a Loud & Shrill whistle capable of being heard more than one hundred yards, / and at the following moment they open their mouths laterally and produce a sort of maniacal / laugh which is continued for several minutes and maintain a sound as if /..."
Provenance: 
Theodore Irwin; from whom purchased in 1910 by J. Pierpont Morgan (see Lugt 1509).
Notes: 

Watermark: J. Whatman, 1831.
Preparatory study for Plate 2 of "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," 1845-1848.

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