Stark Museum of Art, A Showcase of Visual and Literary Arts
According to its website, the Rare Books and Manuscripts room of the Stark Museum of Art in Orange (near the border of Texas and Louisiana) features “The Birds of America by naturalist John James Audubon. These five double elephant folios, which depict the birds of North America, belonged to the artist. The groundbreaking publication is widely regarded as one of the finest illustrated books of all time. In addition to Audubon’s The Birds of America are letters and journals by Audubon and artist Paul Kane, seven Books of Hours manuscripts, and more rare treasures.”
You can also see rare illustrated books of Charles Dickens and original watercolors of C.M. Russell, among other classic works of illustration.
Audubon (1785-1851) has long been recognized for his herculean efforts to capture the detail and beauty of a vast array of birds, many of them tropical, and some which may now be extinct. Through approximately the past 200 years, Audubon has been known primarily for his craft and contributions to public awareness as a celebrated ornithologist and illustrator.
In recent years, however, Audubon’s personal history as a slave holder and his offending views in support of racial inequality have come to light, calling into question his public stature. Some people separate art from artists and some do not. Whatever your opinion, you can read about the issue with Audubon here: https://www.audubon.org/content/john-james-audubon.
Before You Go
The Stark Museum of Art is at 601 Green Avenue. We suggest reading this before your visit: What To Expect.
The Stark Museum of Art is the third stop on Texas Trail Part Two.