Loading Spinner

Animal Drawings

Humans have relied on animals for time immemorial as sources of companionship, clothing, and food. This affinity appears reflected in visual culture throughout the ages, from crude renderings on the walls of caves to modern day works by artists such as Deborah Butterfield and Hunt Slonem. Prior to the advent of photography, painting and illustration were among the few ways artists could document the natural world and artistically express the relationship between humans and animals.

The tradition of creating detailed animal drawings for taxonomic purposes originated in Europe, then quickly spread with the expansion of colonialism. As European culture spread to the Americas, South Asia, and beyond, so did the enterprise of naturalist drawing. While these highly intricate drawings were intended largely for scientific purposes at the time of their creation, they were also valued aesthetically and are now sought-after works of art.


Quick Facts

  • John James Audubon is arguably the most famous zoological draftsman in history. One of Audubon’s “Birds of America” folios containing prints of his drawings sold at a Christie’s auction in 2012 for $7.9 million
  • In the early 19th century, Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt traveled to South America. While there, he produced a prodigious amount of drawings observing the natural life that he discovered throughout his travels
  • Contemporary illustrator Walton Ford continues the naturalist tradition, drawing fantastical portraits of animals in a style very much inspired by Audubon

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

bp parity badge
Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969) Grouse on Pine Bough, Flight Woodcock, Geese, a
Dec 05, 1:00 PM CST
Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969) Grouse on Pine Bough, Flight Woodcock, Geese, a
by Heritage Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$5506 Bids
Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) British, a study of a small bird on a branch, pencil, signed with initials and
Nov 30, 11:00 AM GMT
Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) British, a study of a small bird on a branch, pencil, signed with initials and
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £250- £300
£2202 Bids
bp parity badge
Joann SFAR
Dec 01, 12:00 PM CET
Joann SFAR
by Artcurial
Est: €4,000- €5,000
€4,0002 Bids
Blue Dog
Dec 01, 2:00 PM JST
Blue Dog
by Mallet Auction
Est: ¥100,000- ¥150,000
¥100,0001 Bid
Oresen Lowell Dogs in Drawing Room Original Pen and Ink on Paper
Dec 03, 9:00 AM CST
Oresen Lowell Dogs in Drawing Room Original Pen and Ink on Paper
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$501 Bid
Dutch School, 20th century, Quail in a snowy landscape, signed "D. de Haas" (lower right),
Dec 14, 6:30 PM CET
Dutch School, 20th century, Quail in a snowy landscape, signed "D. de Haas" (lower right),
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €40- €60
€401 Bid
John Fulton Folinsbee (American, 1892-1972) Horses
Dec 06, 11:00 AM EST
John Fulton Folinsbee (American, 1892-1972) Horses
by Freeman's
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
bp parity badge
Hannah B. Barlow (British b. 1851-1916) Sketch on Paper, Signed
Dec 03, 9:00 AM EST
Hannah B. Barlow (British b. 1851-1916) Sketch on Paper, Signed
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $800- $2,000
$801 Bid
bp parity badge
LÉONARD TSUGUHARU FOUJITA (1886-1968) Chat 1941
Dec 01, 5:00 PM CET
LÉONARD TSUGUHARU FOUJITA (1886-1968) Chat 1941
by Bonhams
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€2,0001 Bid
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899): Two Reclining Deer
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899): Two Reclining Deer
by Stair
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
CALVO, Edmond-François (1892-1957)
Nov 27, 2:00 PM CET
CALVO, Edmond-François (1892-1957)
by Stanley's auction
Est: €320- €380
€3000 Bids
Werner Scholz (Berlin/Berlino 1898 - Schwaz 1942)
Dec 03, 3:00 PM CET
Werner Scholz (Berlin/Berlino 1898 - Schwaz 1942)
by Bozner Kunstauktionen
Est: €800- €1,040
€8000 Bids
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
Dec 03, 3:00 PM CET
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
by Bozner Kunstauktionen
Est: €250- €325
€2400 Bids
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
Dec 03, 3:00 PM CET
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
by Bozner Kunstauktionen
Est: €360- €468
€3400 Bids
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
Dec 03, 3:00 PM CET
Alexander Koester Bergneustadt 1864 - München/Monaco di Baviera 1932)
by Bozner Kunstauktionen
Est: €300- €390
€3000 Bids
Carlo Vittori (Cremona 1881 - 1943)
Dec 03, 3:00 PM CET
Carlo Vittori (Cremona 1881 - 1943)
by Bozner Kunstauktionen
Est: €200- €260
€2000 Bids
bp parity badge
Plinio Nomellini, Levriero.
Nov 30, 10:00 AM CET
Plinio Nomellini, Levriero.
by Gonnelli Casa d'Aste
Est: €300- €600
€3000 Bids
Louis Lozowick drawing Federal Eagle and Bird study
Dec 03, 10:00 AM EST
Louis Lozowick drawing Federal Eagle and Bird study
by Concept Art Gallery
Est: $250- $450
$1750 Bids
AMERICAN SPENCERIAN DRAWING
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
AMERICAN SPENCERIAN DRAWING
by Butterscotch Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $300- $500
$1800 Bids
Nö - Diptyque renards
Dec 04, 6:00 PM CET
Nö - Diptyque renards
by HUMY
Est: €350- €450
€2000 Bids
Voltz, Friedrich (Nördlingen 1817-1886 München),
Dec 02, 1:00 PM CET
Voltz, Friedrich (Nördlingen 1817-1886 München),
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €150- €200
€1500 Bids
Krobshofer, Oswald von (Prag 1883-1960 Leipzig),
Dec 02, 1:00 PM CET
Krobshofer, Oswald von (Prag 1883-1960 Leipzig),
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €60- €80
€600 Bids
bp parity badge
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971) BIRD AND BONES
Nov 28, 6:00 PM GMT
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971) BIRD AND BONES
by Whyte's
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€1,5000 Bids
(1) SPARKLING FIRE (2) SILVER DRAGONFLY
Nov 27, 1:00 PM JST
(1) SPARKLING FIRE (2) SILVER DRAGONFLY
by New Art Est-Ouest Auctions
Est: ¥30,000- ¥50,000
¥30,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Animal Drawings


Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Zuydwal Veilingen

Zuydwal Veilingen

Sotheby's

Sotheby's

Zisska & Lacher

Zisska & Lacher