Birds of North America

Past Event

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

Illustration by Allan Brooks

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Illustration by Jonathan Alderfer

National Geographic has a long tradition of using extraordinary illustration to bring birds and other subjects to life. Over 90 original paintings showcase the work of four artists who introduced the Geographic readership to both common and rare species of birds.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874–1927) undertook many expeditions throughout the Western Hemisphere and contributed to National Geographic and more than 50 other publications. After Fuertes’ untimely death, National Geographic commissioned his friend Allan Brooks (1869–1946) to paint hundreds of bird illustrations for a series of ten articles in the 1930s. Walter Weber (1906–1979) served as a staff illustrator for National Geographic for 22 years and painted birds as well as other types of animals.

Based in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Alderfer is the only modern artist featured in the exhibition. He has contributed extensively to several editions of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and co-edited the fifth edition. Alderfer is also well known in the birding community for his expertise as a field ornithologist.

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