A national treasure is celebrated in this landmark publication. The Birds of America is a monumental classic, but it has never been explored like this before. This important new volume presents all the dazzling watercolors that Audubon painted for these monumental engravings. We are familiar with the prints engraved by Robert Havell Jr., but Audubon's Aviary illuminates the original masterpieces that were created by Audubon himself and tells the story behind their creation with fresh insights and engaging quotes from his writings. These powerful paintings--all newly photographed using state-of-the-art techniques--possess a startling immediacy, vibrancy, and fluidity that link natural history, art, and a respect for the environment. These watercolors transmit Audubon's devotion to his craft with their inscriptions and layers of media wrought with a miniaturist's attention to detail and their revolutionary compositions, which for the first time in history depicted all the birds life-size. Audubon is considered America's first great watercolorist, introducing innovative approaches developed over a lifetime of study. Even judged alongside today's technology, his dramatic tableaux remain some of the most spectacular natural history documents and visually arresting works of art ever produced. This deluxe edition comes inside a beautiful cloth slipcase. The book is packaged in the slipcase with a facsimile print of an Audubon watercolor in its own vellum-like protective sleeve. The print is hand-produced by Oppenheimer Editions, specialists in fine art reproductions and nineteenth century natural history art prints. The deluxe slipcase has images front and back and has foil stamping on the spine. The entire deluxe edition comes in its own decorative mailer carton to ensure safe handling.
Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson is the curator of drawings at the New-York Historical Society. She is also professor emeritus of art history at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and is the author of numerous publications, including Drawn by New York: Six Centuries of Watercolors and Drawings, The Florentine Tondo, and Italian Drawings. Marjorie Shelley has been the Conservator of Prints and Drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, since 1974. Shelley's expertise is in all media on paper and associated materials. An essay of Shelley's, entitled "Drawing Birds: Audubon's Artistic Practices," appears in Roberta Olson's Audubon's Aviary Limited Edition: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America. The New-York Historical Society is home to both New York City's oldest museum and one of the nation's most distinguished independent research libraries. Founded in 1804, the N-YHS houses the largest collection of Auduboniana in the world--including all the Birds of America watercolors that the museum purchased from his widow, Lucy Bakewell Audubon, in 1863.