The Magazine

Washington's Audubons

A tantalizing glimpse at the National Gallery.

Nov 14, 2005, Vol. 11, No. 09 • By CLAUDIA ANDERSON
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Reviewing the Rhodes biography in these pages a year ago, Robert Finch called The Birds of America "arguably the most influential work of art this country has ever produced." He might have added that it is also a remarkable record of unspoiled American nature--Audubon began roaming the American woods the year Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the West--and, as such, it is a precious part of our national patrimony.

What a fitting gesture it would be if our National Gallery of Art--even amidst its embarrassment of riches--found room to mount its own permanent, rotating Audubon Niche. More than most of those 90,000 works on paper, Americans need to see these.

Claudia Anderson is a managing editor at The Weekly Standard.