Audubon’s Watercolors Pl. 23A, Black Vulture offers viewers a raw and unfiltered perspective into Audubon’s working process.
Capturing every stray pencil mark, instructional notation, or reworked element of the composition, Audubon’s Watercolors uniquely bear the marks of a mind at work and visualize the progression of an idea from conception to fruition.
Created as highly-refined field sketches for his engraved publication The Birds of America, Audubon’s Watercolors were sold after his death to the New York Historical Society in 1863. As a result, they are not readily available to the public, and, due to their fragility, only shown on select occasions. To reconcile these complexities, Oppenheimer Editions gained the exclusive rights to produce limited edition fine art prints of Audubon’s Watercolors.
These Oppenheimer Editions high-quality facsimiles capture the spontaneity, inventiveness, and tenderness of Audubon’s original watercolors. Moreover, this selection of prints features several of Audubon’s watercolors that were never reproduced by Robert Havell or Julius Bien. Instead, they exist solely in the New York Historical Society’s repository, and now as Oppenheimer Editions fine art prints.
About Audubon’s Watercolors
As the first ever actual-size printing of Audubon’s original watercolor paintings, Audubon’s Watercolors: The Complete Avian Collection, New-York Historical Society Edition features faithful facsimiles of all 474 of Audubon’s preparatory mixed-media paintings for his monumental folio, The Birds of America.
Painted from 1808 – 1838, Audubon’s magnificent watercolors were created during his two-decade-long exploration through the backwoods of America where he observed, documented, and painted over 700 bird species. These watercolor paintings were then sent to Audubon’s London printmaker, Robert Havell, who translated the images into the iconic hand-colored engravings published in The Birds of America.
About John James Audubon
America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785—1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to visually record the birds and mammals of North America. His publications The Birds of America & The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America are icons of 19th-century art and capture the nascent stages of American natural history.
Born in 1785 in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo (Haiti) to a Creole mother and French father, Audubon spent the early years of his life in France but moved to America at age 18. It was during this time that his appreciation for birds flourished and he developed a keen artistic acumen for rendering wildlife. It was not until 1819 when Audubon was married and the father of two sons, that he embraced the life of artist-naturalist and embarked on his venture through the backwoods of America with the intent of illustrating the avian life he encountered there.
Audubon’s muti-decade venture resulted in the publication of his monumental folio The Birds of America which documented over 700 bird species on 435 plates. In a similar manner and with the help of his two sons and his friend Reverend John Bachman, Audubon later produced The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, which contained 150 plates depicting the mammals of North America. Audubon’s folios were seismic in the fields of ornithology and mammalogy and set a new precedent for natural history illustration.
About Oppenheimer Editions
Established in 1999, our publishing company Oppenheimer Editions was developed in order to produce modern facsimiles of historic works of art. Marrying cutting-edge digital printing technologies with canonical works of art, Oppenheimer Editions has partnered with prestigious museums to make their holdings accessible to the public as fine art prints. Works from the New-York Historical Society’s unrivaled collections of John James Audubon’s watercolors and the Hudson River School paintings are examples of art that otherwise would be unobtainable.
Among the institutional collections we have partnered with are the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Our Oppenheimer Editions prints are not mere reproductions. Rather, they are limited-edition fine art prints made with the finest quality archival pigments on rag watercolor paper and executed to exacting standards.
For more information about Audubon’s Watercolors Pl. 23A, Black Vulture, email us at [email protected] or check out our articles Investigating Audubon’s 50 Best Watercolors and Audubon Collecting Guide.