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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

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Delightful rendition of five hogs in a landscape drawn by H. Bush - Ohio
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Delightful rendition of five hogs in a landscape drawn by H. Bush - Ohio
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Est: $0- $0
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Reg Mombassa (1951-) New Zealand, Australia - Sunbathing Tasmanian Devil
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Reg Mombassa (1951-) New Zealand, Australia - Sunbathing Tasmanian Devil
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Wallace pastel of the thoroughbred horse, Whirlaway
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Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Malaga 1881 - 1973 Mougins, France) (after)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Malaga 1881 - 1973 Mougins, France) (after)
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HAGEMANS MAURICE (1852 - 1917) pastel : "Koeien in…
Mar 02, 11:00 AM CET
HAGEMANS MAURICE (1852 - 1917) pastel : "Koeien in…
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LARRY ROBINSON - Duck
Mar 24, 1:00 PM CST
LARRY ROBINSON - Duck
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Louise Hoeschen-Goldberg "Pink Goat", 1977
Mar 01, 12:00 PM PST
Louise Hoeschen-Goldberg "Pink Goat", 1977
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Bruce "Dapper Bruce Lafitte" Davenport, Jr.
Mar 14, 2:00 PM CDT
Bruce "Dapper Bruce Lafitte" Davenport, Jr.
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MICHAEL S.K. LEE - Untitled - Owl Family
Mar 24, 1:00 PM CST
MICHAEL S.K. LEE - Untitled - Owl Family
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Est: $60- $70
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Frank Eliscu "Untitled" Charcoal on Paper of Horse
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Frank Eliscu "Untitled" Charcoal on Paper of Horse
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Est: $200- $400
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MARGUERITE KIRMSE (AMERICAN 1885-1954) PASTEL ON BOARD LION & SWAN, SIGNED
Mar 10, 10:00 AM PST
MARGUERITE KIRMSE (AMERICAN 1885-1954) PASTEL ON BOARD LION & SWAN, SIGNED
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Felix Aftene (b. 1972) - Dalí's Moustache (Mustața lui Dalí)*
Mar 14, 7:00 PM EET
Felix Aftene (b. 1972) - Dalí's Moustache (Mustața lui Dalí)*
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HIRST DAMIEN (° 1965) tekening : "Haai" - 20 x 2…
Mar 03, 2:00 PM CET
HIRST DAMIEN (° 1965) tekening : "Haai" - 20 x 2…
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Est: €500- €1,000
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HIRST DAMIEN (° 1965) tekening in viltstift gereal…
Mar 03, 2:00 PM CET
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Menashe Kadishman- Pastel on Paper "Untitled"
Mar 05, 10:00 AM PST
Menashe Kadishman- Pastel on Paper "Untitled"
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Est: $1,000- $1,250
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Henry Koehler (1927-2018), Charcoal and Oil on Paper, Westie in a Basket, 2003
Mar 02, 11:00 AM EST
Henry Koehler (1927-2018), Charcoal and Oil on Paper, Westie in a Basket, 2003
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Sir Peter Markham Scott CH (British, 1909-1989)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM GMT
Sir Peter Markham Scott CH (British, 1909-1989)
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Est: £100- £150
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Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
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Est: €300- €500
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Dog Pastel
Mar 02, 9:00 AM EST
Dog Pastel
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
FELT PEN DRAWING OF EAGLES BY TANO FESTA, 1975
Mar 01, 3:00 PM CET
FELT PEN DRAWING OF EAGLES BY TANO FESTA, 1975
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Est: €200- €300
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HUGE BRECK Signed Cat Portrait Pastel ? Painting
Mar 15, 9:00 AM EDT
HUGE BRECK Signed Cat Portrait Pastel ? Painting
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Est: $100- $200
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Sellers Who Sell Animal Drawings


Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Eldred's

Eldred's

Hotel des Ventes De Bruxelles

Hotel des Ventes De Bruxelles

Medusa Auctioneers

Medusa Auctioneers