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John James Audubon’s keen observation, passion for the natural world, and remarkable aesthetic sensibility combined to produce one of the world’s pre-eminent natural history documents. The four-volume The Birds of America, the grandest and most sumptuous colorplate folio ever produced, was a massive undertaking without precedent. Arguably the most important natural history publication of all time, the watercolors and prints for The Birds of America also stand as one of the finest achievements in American art. Audubon’s accomplishment—a story of triumph over immeasurable obstacles—has made him one of America’s most written-about artists. At least twenty-three biographies of the woodsman-cum-naturalist published have been published to date, and even an opera has been devoted to the subject. 

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