Animal and Bird Art for Sale
Venture into the animal kingdom where wild horses race across the landscape, cows exchange knowing glances with the viewer, and dogs and cats happily accompany their human friends. This curated selection offers a vivid and playful look into the secret lives of animals. Browse one-of-a-kind animal oil paintings for sale.Read more
Animal and wildlife artists were recognized in the art world in the early 18th century, with naturalist, writer, and painter John James Audubon prominent among them. His dual interests in art and ornithology became the leviathan task of creating a pictorial record of all the bird species of North America, some of which are extinct today.
Audubon obtained his subjects by what today is referred to as “the barrel of the shotgun” method. Killing the birds, he used a complex system of strings and wires to position them so as not to depict them stiffly, as was the practice, but rather dynamically as they might be observed in their habitats.
Consisting of 435 hand colored, life-sized prints, each painstakingly made from engraved plates, the book would take 14 years to complete. Audubon was 35, bankrupt, and just released from debtor’s prison when the idea for the project occurred to him. To help support her husband’s endeavor, Audubon’s wife, Lucy Bakewell, went to work as a teacher, becoming the family’s primary breadwinner.
Audubon went to Philadelphia and New York in 1823, and to Europe three years later, in a daunting pursuit of financial support for his project. He achieved this through lectures on ornithology and frontier life, seizing every opportunity to present his portfolio to wealthy prospects. The copper engraving plates were sold on a subscription basis on both continents, with King George IV, Lord Spencer, French King Charles X, and Americans Daniel Webster and Henry Clay among his most ardent supporters. Subscribers received five plates at a time, along with prints of three smaller birds, a mid-sized bird, and a large one, for a total cost of $1,000 - in the vicinity of $25,000 today. The book would ultimately cost an astronomical $2,000,000 to print in today’s dollars.
On June 14, 2018, a first edition of Audubon’s The Birds of America sold to an anonymous buyer at a Christie’s auction for $9.65 million. Christie’s described one of the lush hand-colored engravings of two purple herons as “rigorously ornithological and strangely anthropomorphic,” adding the birds are depicted in such a way that they could be old friends of the observer.
Previously owned by businessman and naturalist Carl W. Knobloch Jr. who passed away in 2016, proceeds from the 2018 sale benefited conservation of plants, animals, and natural habitats through the Knobloch Family Foundation.
Knobloch grew up on a Connecticut farm and learned to love hunting and fishing. His passion for the great outdoors led his family to believe he might one day become curator of a natural history museum. He went to Yale and Harvard Business School and initiated entrepreneurial ventures in Africa before working on Wall Street as an investment banker. Knobloch invested in and turned around businesses, later helming companies in finance, real estate, and oilfield services. Fly fishing became a great passion, and many of the flies he tied sold to Abercrombie & Fitch. His obituary said, “He was grateful for all that God had given him, forming a foundation dedicated to preserving the land and wild spaces for animals and to valuing our natural resources.
The artists at UGallery are inspired by the spirit and character of the animals around them. Read what animal artists Emil Morhardt and Amy Rattner have to say about their work.
“I photograph birds in the wild and at wildlife recovery centers, using these images as a basis for capturing their personalities in my paintings. The birds are going about their lives, acclimated to the human environment but on their own terms.” - Emil Morhardt, Wildlife bird painter
“Animals of all shapes and sizes have always been my passion, and each piece begins with a deep admiration of the unique beauty and character of the creature I am painting. Other sources of inspiration include an animal's mythological or spiritual role in different tribal societies; the relationship between form, color, and line as they relate to my subject; a creature's role in the larger ecosystem.” - Amy Rattner, Elephant, wolf and bear painter