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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON’S original WATERCOLORS TO BE RECREATED FOR THE FIRST TIME
New-York Historical Society and Oppenheimer Editions, LLC Announce Partnership to Produce Limited-Edition Prints of “Audubon’s Fifty Best”
New York, New York, November, 12, 2005 – The New-York Historical Society, whose collection is well recognized as the largest and most significant of famed artist and naturalist John James Audubon, and Oppenheimer Editions, LLC, are announcing an exclusive licensing agreement to recreate fifty of the Historical Society’s stunning collection of original Audubon watercolors. His widow, Lucy Bakewell Audubon, sold this unique collection, considered the most important of Audubon’s original work, intact in 1863 to the Historical Society. It has never been available for individual collectors to own.
Fifty prints out of the 435 in the collection have been selected and will be published by Oppenheimer Editions and known as “The New-York Historical Society Edition of Audubon’s Fifty Best Watercolors” The agreement is exclusive for 75 years and will be limited to 200 sets, which coincides with the same number of sets that Audubon originally published. One hundred will be sold as complete sets, and 100 will be sold as individual print inventory. Oppenheimer Editions will pay a royalty to the Historical Society, which will be used to help support the museum and library.
Because the collection is irreplaceable and vulnerable to light exposure the ultra high resolution scans of the original works were executed and carefully monitored on-site at the Historical Society. The high resolution scans have already revealed what are believed to be Audubon’s fingerprints embedded in the paint surface of the Common American Swan. Technicians and the highly specialized equipment required for the scans were transported to New York from Oppenheimer’s base operation in Chicago for the process. Also critical to the production is the use of Somerset Satin Radiant White 330 Gsm 100 percent rag acid-free archival paper, which is very similar to paper used in the original watercolors, and water-based dyes that are a virtual match to the originals. Oppenheimer anticipates it will take 12 months to complete all 50 images, with the first ten to be completed in time for introduction at the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition, Audubon’s Aviary, February 16 – April 6, 2006.
Oppenheimer Editions, LLC is distinguished for producing highly collectable, museum-quality limited editions. Since the release of the first Audubon’s Fifty Best The Birds of America edition in 1999 from the Field Museum Havell Edition Audubon folio, critics and collectors have noted the brilliant quality and numerous art publications have acknowledged that these facsimiles are the first to achieve an esthetic quality comparable to the originals. Editions by such renowned artists as Mark Catesby, Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Edward Lear from the Field Museum collection and Dr. Robert John Thornton, Margaret Mee and Clara Maria Pope from the archives at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, have all won critical acclaim.
Now that this new niche market for limited-edition, extremely high-quality prints has been created, and with the production elements in place, Oppenheimer feels this partnership with the New-York Historical Society is especially significant, “To recreate this edition, which will give collectors the only opportunity to own an example from this priceless collection is very gratifying. We couldn’t be more privileged to work with what I believe is the most important collection from Audubon’s body of work,” said Oppenheimer. “After 28 gratifying years of dealing in the nineteenth century editions of original Audubon prints, the opportunity to recreate the Historical Society collection in a new form may well be the pinnacle of my career,” he continued.
Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society is pleased with the new endeavor. “Our agreement with Oppenheimer Editions is valuable to the Historical Society on several levels. The high resolution scans created for these editions will be the first to be included in a new digital archive of Audubon’s watercolors, a resource for both conservators and art historians. Additionally, one complete set of the Oppenheimer Edition will be given to the Historical Society upon its completion. Due to light sensitivity, each original Audubon painting can be exhibited for only six weeks every ten years. This edition will allow more of Audubon’s audience to witness these great images in person.”
Special, pre-publication pricing is being offered for $35-thousand for the first 15 sets sold and $2,500 for individual prints. Each print will be blind embossed with the Oppenheimer Editions, LLC mark on the bottom right and the New-York Historical Society official stamp on the bottom left. On the back, each print will bear the numbered and signed stamp by Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.
For more information about the Oppenheimer Editions, LLC and the Joel Oppenheimer Gallery, you are invited to visit www.oppenheimereditions.com , or call 866-333-4846. For more information regarding the New-York Historical Society and its Audubon collection, please visit www.nyhistory.org.
The New-York Historical Society’s museum is New York’s oldest, predating the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History by nearly 70 years. Its art holdings comprise more than 1.6 million works, among them a world-class collection of Hudson River School paintings; a vast range of American portraits; an encyclopedic collection of over 800 works documenting the full range of representational sculpture in America from the colonial period to the present day; and all 435 of John James Audubon’s known extant watercolors preparatory for The Birds of America.
Established in 1969, Joel Oppenheimer, Inc. is dedicated to the connoisseurship of collecting and to preserving the art of natural history and the significant contributions of the explorers who have recorded the flora and fauna of the past three centuries.
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