L110 Winter 2019 Original Engravings from Audubon’s Masterpiece, The Birds of America
Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23–Jan. 30
Instructor: Jeff Metzger
John James Audubon, often described as the greatest American artist of nature, completed The Birds of America in the late 1830s. This four-volume set of engravings depicts many of the bird species in the United States, life-size and in their habitats. Audubon’s work paralleled other efforts encouraged by Thomas Jefferson and others in the early 19th century, including the Lewis and Clark expedition, to observe and describe the “new America.” Jeff Metzger has collected a number of Audubon’s original full-size engravings over the past 20 years. For this course, he will bring about ten of Audubon’s pieces from his collection for attendees to examine. He will discuss Audubon’s extraordinary life and the process by which the engravings were made. Finally, he will briefly review the history of each engraving. This course will provide a rare opportunity to view these almost 200-year-old artistic pieces in a non-museum venue.
Jeff Metzger graduated from Amherst College and Georgetown Law School. He worked for the Department of Justice, in private practice, and most recently as associate general counsel for a Fortune 500 company. Metzger has particular interests in history, politics, and anything composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. He is an avid collector of the original artworks of John James Audubon.