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Audubon's Aviary: the Original Watercolors for the Birds of America [Hardcover]

Roberta Olson , Marjorie Shelley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

18 Sep 2012 0847834832 978-0847834839
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.

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Audubon's Aviary: the Original Watercolors for the Birds of America + Audubon's Birds of America - Tiny Folio (Culture)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Skira Rizzoli (18 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847834832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847834839
  • Product Dimensions: 33.6 x 27.6 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 647,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

""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 e

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.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the book very much. 28 Jan 2013
By XU Heng
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is very beautiful. However, the service of the bookshop 'books_any' is disappointing. I will not buy books from this shop.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Gift for Audubon Bird Followers 25 Dec 2012
By Michael D Squires - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you've ever visited the original Audubon paintings at the New-York Historical Society, and want to keep your experience fresh in mind, then this book is for you. If you truly appreciate Audubon's birds but have not seen them in full flight at the Historical Society, then this book is the perfect book to prepare you for their major Spring 2013-14-15 exhibits at the Society. The Society has the original Audubon paintings from which all the Audubon-authorized and unauthorized versions and copies are based. This volume provides unique insights which the Society's Audubon curator has discovered and uncovered, along with her colleagues, over more than a decade of care and scholarship. The original paintings were purchased directly from John James's widow Lucy Audubon, who lived on their estate in New York City, by the Society through public subscription in 1863, 150 years ago. The originals provide viewers with a profound sense of discovery, and this book will help prepare you for and deepen that sense of discovery. I heartily recommend the book and the collection itself. Not to be missed, the collection is one of America's greatest art treasures.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Book 26 Aug 2013
By Charles M. Marsteller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When Audubon died, his widow sold the original watercolors used to prepare the copperplates which Havell had used in 1840 in the production of his famous Birds of America.

The New York Historical Society was lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time with cash in hand, and this is the legacy we now see in Audubon's Aviary.

Many of the original Audubon watercolors differ from the copperplates, and this is why I say this book is an important one. Details and compositions were modified, as one might expect.

So a study of the watercolor in comparison with the published plate is a joy to pursue for those of us who cannot get enough of Audubon as one of America's greatest artists.

This book's standout element is the color separations--a demanding task done here to its finest art. The watercolors clearly have been carefully preserved so we see the glorious color and the color separations as Audubon intended.

This book is an award winner!

PS. And don't miss Audubon's self portrait as he struggles to return to camp with his Golden Eagle!

PPS. I have hope that the N.Y.Historical Society may one day complete a second volume containing the balance of the watercolors as all are a joy to see in large plate reproductions--esp.when these reproductions have been done so well by the team assembled to publish this fine book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly beautiful book: too much of a good thing - it's heavy! 15 Aug 2013
By Old Master - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My six year old grandson loves birds. All birds. He loved these pictures. He was very conflicted to learn that Audubon shot the birds and drew in a studio, because there was no field photography for him. Now he is looking forward to visiting the New York Historical Society and seeing the originals.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Rendition Since the Original 23 April 2013
By MLC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my daughter who has been a birder since age 2 when we used to borrow an original Audubon's Birds plate book from a local library. She does not know about the book yet, but I was extremely delighted to obtain it for her--I shopped early because I was certain this book would be a sell-out. Can't wait 'till she opens it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book 23 Aug 2013
By Antonio Carpintero Campos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful watercolors. Wonderful book. Very nice edition and a perfect vision of the original Audubon's work. Highly recommendable book. And also the price is very good
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