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9780847834839
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Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America

Written by Roberta Olson and The New-York Historical Society, Contribution by Marjorie Shelley

  • October 16, 2012
  • Hardcover
  • Art - Individual Artist
  • Skira Rizzoli
  • 10-1/2 x 13
  • $85.00
  • $90.00
  • 978-0-8478-3483-9

About This Book

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.

About the Author

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 1780–1890. Marjorie Shelley is the Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Author Bookshelf

Roberta Olson

Author Bookshelf

The New-York Historical Society

Reviews

  • "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...possess a startling immediacy, vibrancy, and fluidity that link natural history, art, and a respect for the environment." ~Passionate Birder.com

    "America's original artist of sumptuous color, detail, and identity in the natural world... the story of the creation of the Audubon watercolors and delves into the master naturalist's sources. Like the greatest of art from nature, we are taught how to see." ~Publisher's Weekly

    "These powerful images—reveal a virtuoso talent struggling with and brilliantly overcoming challenges posed in the representation of the natural world....Most excitingly, they thrust the viewer directly into the scene....observing his amazing creatures in their natural habitats." ~Audubon Magazine

    "This important volume presents all the dazzling watercolors that Audubon painted for these monumental engravings. Audubon's Aviary illuminates the original masterpieces that were created by Audubon himself and tells the story of their creation." ~Passionate Birder

    "...kind of book to leave on your coffee table or on a prominent place on your bookshelf and return to for delight and edification time and time again...This is not just a book for bird lovers, for naturalists, but for those interested in art and nature and discovery." ~travel-watch.com

    "
    With impressive scholarship, delicacy, and respect Olson brings us close to the paintings and the man. At one point, she evokes how Audubon's brown ink fingerprints on the back of some paintings make her feel that she is in his presence. This extraordinary book makes me feel the same way." ~Urban Audubon
     
    “…the new book returns to the original paintings and tells the story behind Audubon’s monumental classic with exciting discoveries about the American icon, as well as fresh insights and engaging quotes from his compelling writings.” ~New York Historical Society
     
    “While there are quite a few books out there covering the subject, this is by far one of the most beautiful and engaging. An absolute delight!” ~whatisjameswearing.com
     
    “Beautifully presented in book form, these selected pieces are some of the most beautiful collections of the American icon’s work….these are good for days for those who already know and cherish Audubon’s work, and a perfect time for those unfamiliar to find out….well worth the price tag. Audubon’s Aviary serves as a historical document comparable to any great work of literature, painting…or any other kind of art.” ~Ousideonline.com
     
    “This is a gorgeous volume…” ~Chronos

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