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Displaying items by tag: Birds of America

John James Audubon painted many birds, but for sheer stage presence, his great gray owl is hard to beat. Perched on a rotten branch, it turns halfway, as though disturbed, and fixes the viewer with an imperious stare. The yellow eyes glow, their intensity magnified by concentric ringlike markings that spread outward, like a feathery vortex. The plumage is regal — thick drapery, in a gray and brown pattern, falling in soft folds. The owl exudes the heavy solemnity of one of Velázquez’s popes or Holbein’s portrait of Thomas More.

The owl has stiff competition in “Audubon’s Aviary: The Final Flight.”

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Last March, the New-York Historical Society launched “Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete Flock.” The sweeping, three-part exhibition celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Society’s purchase of the 435 avian watercolors that John James Audubon’s created for his seminal volume, “Birds of America.”

While “Audubon’s Aviary: Part I of the Complete Flock” offered patrons a rare glimpse into Audubon’s earlier years, “Parts Unknown (Part II of the Complete Flock),” will consider Audubon as an established artist-naturalist, a world traveler, and a well-known figure in a growing nation. The show, which focuses on Audubon’s preparatory watercolors for “Birds of America,” will present more than 132 watercolors depicting mainly water birds and waders, many of which are among Audubon’s most spectacular and largest birds. The show will be complemented by audio of bird calls and songs of each species from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown (Part II of the Complete Flock)” will open at the New-York Historical Society on March 21, 2014 and will remain on view through May 26, 2014. The exhibition’s third installment will open in 2015.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:45

Audubon’s Birds on View in Minneapolis

The University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History is currently hosting the exhibition ‘Audubon and the Art of Birds,' which presents the original “double-elephant” prints from John James Audubon’s seminal work, ‘Birds of America.’ Produced between 1826 and 1838, the volume revolutionized our view of birds and nature and is widely considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.

Audubon and the Art of Birds’ presents 35 prints by theme -- Cataloging Creation, Exploration and Discovery, The Beauty of Birds, The Living Bird, Bird Book Evolution, Birds and Conservation, Birds in the Environment, Life and Death in Bird Art -- and includes works by Audubon’s contemporaries as well as those who followed in his footsteps. Ultimately, the exhibition traces the evolution of bird art from the 1500s to the present day and highlights Audubon’s role in that transformation.

‘Audubon and the Art of Birds’ will be on view at the Bell Museum through June 8, 2014. 

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One of only 11 surviving copies of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the United States, sold for $14.2 million on November 26 at Sotheby’s in New York. The book, which was purchased by American businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein, set a new world auction record for any printed book. Rubenstein plans to loan the book to libraries across the country before putting it on long-term loan at one of them.

The Bay Psalm Book’s selling price soared past the previous auction record for a printed book, established in December 2010 at Sotheby’s London when a copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America sold for $11.5 million. The last time a copy of the Bay Psalm Book appeared at auction was in January 1947 when it sold at Sotheby’s for $151,000.

The Bay Psalm Book was published in Cambridge, MA by the Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony about two decades after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Approximately 1,700 copies of the book were printed.

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A copy of the Bay Psalm Book, which was printed by pilgrims in Plymouth, MA in 1640, will head to auction at Sotheby’s in New York on November 26, 2013. The book is expected to garner around $30 million, which would set the record for a book at auction. John James Audubon’s Birds of America currently holds the record, a copy of which sold for $11.5 million 2010.

 Bay Psalm Book was written by colonials John Cotton, Richard Mather, and John Eliot 20 years after they arrived in America. Only 11 copies of the original run of 1,700 copies remain. The copy that will be auctioned in November belongs to Boston’s Old South Church, which currently owns two of the books.

The last time a copy of the Bay Psalm Book was offered at auction was in 1947 when it sold for $151,000, setting a record at the time. The book will go on a tour of various U.S. cities before the sale.

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A rare first edition of John James Audubon’s illustrated “The Birds of America” laid a golden egg Friday, selling for $7.9 million.

Christie’s auction house in Manhattan identified the buyer only as an American collector who bid by phone.

The winning price was within the presale estimate of $7 million to $10 million for the work, which depicts more than 400 life-size North American species in four monumental volumes and is considered a masterpiece of ornithology art.

Another complete first edition of “The Birds of America” sold at Sotheby’s in London in December 2010 for $11.5 million, a record for the most expensive printed book sold at auction.

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