The idea for this show in the John and Peggy Maximus Gallery began when I was given a book chronicling the lives of extinct birds, Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Christopher Cokinos. The stories were poignant and shocking. I realized that an exhibit on the subject would be thought-provoking in the current sobering time of bird loss.
Because the exhibit space is devoted to antique natural history art, we could reveal the tragic histories of lost species through the work of Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon, who depicted America’s lost birds. It was a challenge to find the exact prints. After all, they were made more than 150 and in some cases 250 years ago: rare to begin with and not easily found. There were a few already in our collection but we needed several others.