Audubon's Watercolors Pl. 256, Purple Heron
Oppenheimer Editions Print
25 5/8" x 37 7/8"
Limited edition of 200
Blind embossed with the Oppenheimer Editions logo and New-York Historical Society logo
Audubon's Fifty Best Watercolors, The New-York Historical Society Edition
The prints in Audubon’s Watercolors: The Complete Avian Collection, New-York Historical Society Edition© are astounding facsimiles, re-creations of the watercolors that John James Audubon painted from 1808—1838. Many bear handwritten instructions to the engraver, as well as other notations. Working in partnership with the New-York Historical Society, we have published all 434 original watercolors preparatory for John James Audubon’s great work, The Birds of America, in an actual-size first edition printing. In addition, 40 alternate images that have never before been published as fine art images are included in this edition. The Complete Avian Collection of all 474 plates and Audubon’s Fifty Best Watercolors are available as individual plates and complete sets. Edition size is strictly limited to 200 and 13 printer’s proof sets.
Our collaboration with the Society resulted in the first ever actual-size fine art printing of John James Audubon’s original watercolors. The enormous task of recreating their entire collection of original John James Audubon avian watercolors as a limited-edition fine art printing was begun in 2006. These magnificent works are available for collectors to own and enjoy. Museums and libraries, including the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, Nevada Museum of Art, and New-York Historical Society have acquired this landmark in American natural history art for their collections for public viewing and scholarly study.
Printed with archival pigments on 100% rag watercolor paper, these prints directly capture the artist’s hand and fundamental vision unlike any other publication. Each image is individually sized to match the dimensions of the original watercolor. So exact is our printing process that every nuance of the original watercolors is conveyed. First hailed in John James Audubon’s day as an unparalleled document of natural history, this priceless collection of American art has never before been available. Audubon’s Watercolors: The Complete Avian Collection offers collectors a unique opportunity to own a virtual replica in printed form of John James Audubon’s historic original watercolors.
John James Audubon explored the American backwoods to discover, record, and illustrate its avian life. America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785—1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to record the birds of America. The images he created are icons of 19th-century art. Though he studied and drew from nature since childhood, it was not until 1819 when he was the father of two sons that John James Audubon fully embraced the life of an artist-naturalist with the support of his devoted wife, Lucy Audubon. In 1820, John James Audubon left his family in Cincinnati, embarking with a young apprentice, Joseph R. Mason. Mason worked with John James Audubon from 1820 until 1822, contributing mostly botanical elements to about 55 of John James Audubon’s paintings. Later, the artists George Lehman, Maria Martin, and his sons Victor Gifford Audubon and John Woodhouse Audubon assisted John James Audubon with botanical and landscape backgrounds. Published from 1827—38, the lavish double-elephant size folio of The Birds of America, spectacularly launched John James Audubon’s career as an artist-naturalist and publisher of natural history folios depicting North American birds and animals.
Established in 1999, Oppenheimer Editions has partnered with prestigious museums to make prints from their holdings. 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 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These are not mere reproductions. They are limited-edition fine art prints made with the finest quality archival pigments on rag watercolor paper and executed to exacting standards.