Watergate Gallery Presents Jonathan Alderfer Paintings – Drawings – Prints

By Editorial Team on November 7, 2022

Sat, 12 November 2022 - Sat, 28 January 2023

Calliope Hummingbird with Salvia, 2017, watercolor and gouache on Strathmore 3-ply rag paper, 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 12 from 5pm to 7pm

Jonathan Alderfer devotes much of his art to birds and their habitats specializing in painting birds for more than 40 years. He has illustrated many books, including works in the best-selling National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, some of which will be on display. A selection of books signed by the artist will be available at the gallery. For 10 years he was National Geographic’s resident birding expert at their headquarters in Washington, DC Jonathan now lives in Midcoast Maine.

Jonathan Alderfer was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in rural Long Island, and spent his later adolescent years in Bethesda, MD. After graduating from Sidwell Friends School, Jonathan studied painting and sculpture at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. After college, he and his wife Zora lived in Vermont for several years, then relocated to Los Angeles, where he began to combine his interest in birds and birding with his art. His remarkable ability to capture the essence of his subjects with paint on paper soon earned respect in the wider ornithological world.

In 1996, Jonathan returned to Washington, D.C., where he lived with his family and worked as the Chief Consultant for Birding Projects at the National Geographic Books Division, where he authored, edited, and/or illustrated more than 30 books about birds and birding. Most recently, he is co-author and contributing artist to the National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th edition, and Complete Birds of North America, 3rd edition.

His paintings and drawings have appeared in numerous scientific and popular publications such as Audubon Magazine, North American Birds, Bird Watchers’ Digest, Birding, and National Geographic Magazine. Alderfer has been a major artistic contributor to several other field guides, notably the American Bird Conservancy’s All the Birds of North America and the Smithsonian’s Birds of South Asia.

In addition to book editing and illustration, Alderfer features birds in fine art paintings and relief prints. His paintings and prints have been included in multiple Birds in Art shows at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin and toured nationally and internationally. He has had one-man shows at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the National Audubon Society Gallery in Los Angeles, and in Washington, D.C. at the Watergate Gallery, the Rubenstein Gallery at Sidwell Friends School, and the National Geographic Museum.

In 2015, Alderfer and his wife moved to Midcoast Maine, where he continues to work on book projects for National Geographic, create art inspired by birds and the natural world, and observe the abundant bird life around and near his home on the Sheepscot River.


  • Monday – Friday: 11-6
  • Saturday: 12-5
  • or by appointment

The gallery is located in the Watergate complex which is on Virginia and New Hampshire Avenues NW in the Mall area below street level. Entrances from the parking garage located on New Hampshire Avenue or the escalator on Virginia Avenue next to the US Post Office or stairs by the entrance of Watergate East residences.

Watergate Gallery is located at 2552 Virginia Avenue NW.