Dating audubon prints
“The alternative is to throw it in the trash or display it in a compromised form, which would piss off Audubon.
Written by naturalist John James Audubon, the Birds of America is one of the most prized and collected books of all time. Features a new introduction by world-renowned bird artist and author, David Allen Sibley.
When you look at Audubon, it looks like it’s from the 20th century.
It’s such a leap, stylistically.” This talent for capturing not just the scientific facts of the bird but its behavior and its personality elevates Audubon’s illustrations to fine art.
For these reasons, a worn, torn, faded, or otherwise injured Audubon print isn’t automatically dead in the eyes of the market. It’s a question of representation and misrepresentation and how well things are done,” says Oppenheimer, who offers conservation and restoration services through his gallery.
He also had no kerosene lamps, no SUVs, and no whiz-bang modern fabrics to keep him warm and dry. “You sit here today and look back and wonder how he did it.” Audubon was equally at home in the most elite settings imaginable, including the White House, where he dined with President Andrew Jackson in 1830.
Bill Steiner, a birdwatcher, collector of Auduboniana, and author of Audubon Art Prints: A Collector’s Guide to Every Edition (University of South Carolina Press, .95) knows firsthand what a genius Audubon was.
Speaking of his Red-tailed Hawk, a dramatic and violent plate showing two predators battling in mid-air for possession of a freshly-caught hare, Steiner says, “I have seen that scene in nature three times. He got it right.” Audubon achieved this feat by venturing into the wild with his sketchbook and absorbing what nature showed him.
Only one has been broken and auctioned since then, and the outcome ensured that it will almost certainly be the last.
Dubbed the Sachsen-Meiningen set after its owners, a German royal family who consigned it to Christie’s in 2004, it lacked 11 of the 435 images that comprise a complete set, which influenced the decision to sell its plates individually.