Wild Turkey, Male

Unframed: $500
Framed: $750

By John James Audubon

This limited edition print of the Wild Turkey, Male by John James Audubon, was produced in 1828.  Audubon writes about the Wild Turkey with praise in the sentence, “The great size and beauty of the Wild Turkey, its value as a delicate and highly prized article of food, and the circumstance of its being the origin of the domestic race now generally dispersed over both continents, render it one of the most interesting of the birds indigenous to the United States of America.

The Wild Turkey is widely considered the crowning achievement of Audubon's monumental Birds of America.  The image has come to represent not just the series in its entirety, but to many, it symbolizes the spirit of American ingenuity and entrepreneurial instincts that fueled the project.  Audubon was the first to undertake the unprecedented and ambitious task of attempting to document all bird species of the United States, and his tireless efforts and remarkable talent culminated in the publication of his Birds of America (1827-1838).

Audubon had initially selected the Scottish printer William Lizars as his publisher. The Wild Turkey was the first plate to be engraved, and Audubon selected it carefully, as it would be the first image seen by his subscribers. In his journals he wrote of the extensive work he had put into the composition.

The bird was distinct from any European species, and so ubiquitous that Benjamin Franklin had proposed it as the American national symbol, preferring it to the eagle. Not only is the symbolism of the Wild Turkey significant, but artistically, it is perhaps Audubon's masterpiece. The gigantic bird appears barely to fit within the confines of the two dimensional page, assuming a life and vitality that impels it into the viewer's space.

Robert Havell, was the principal engraver of Audubon's Birds of America, the most significant natural history publication of all time.  Havell’s aquatint engraving of all but the first ten plates of John James Audubon's Birds of America is recognized as a significant artistic achievement in its own right and an essential component of the success of Birds of America. Havell and Audubon became close friends and associates during their lengthy collaboration.

ARTIST:  John James Audubon (1785-1851)

PRINTER: William Lizars (1788-1859)

YEAR:  1828

TITLE: Wild Turkey, Male, Meleagris Gallopavo

IMAGE SIZE:  39 ¼ x 26 ¼ in. (99.70 x 66.70 cm.)

FRAMED SIZE: 40 x 30 1/4 in. (101.6 x 76.84 cm.)

PAPER: Hahnemühle Photo Rag (pure cotton)

MEDIUM: Giclee, Works on Paper