John James Audubon. Plate 397. "Scaup Duck".
New York: J. Bien, 1860. 13 1/4 x 18 7/8 (image). Chromolithograph. One of two images printed on a single double elephant folio sheet. Very good condition. Professionally deacidified. Framed and mounted with acid free matting and UV filter glass. A/A
John James Audubon, known both for his romantic life and his superb prints, is the most famous of all American natural history artists. For his pioneering travel around the United States in search of new subjects in the wild, his lifelike and dramatic style, and his monumental works on the birds and quadrupeds of North America, Audubon is, perhaps, also the greatest American natural history artist. In 1827 Audubon began to issue the prints from the first edition of his monumental The Birds of America, which when completed ran to a total of 435 double elephant folio prints. Audubon had died in 1851, but his son John Woodhouse Audubon, who worked closely with him, undertook the project to recreate the prints, for which there was continued strong demand. Published in New York in 1860, the second edition prints were lithographs printed in color, a relatively new and expensive process at the time. This brilliant chromolithography marks these prints as a distinctive production, adding significantly to Audubon's oeuvre. With the disruptions caused by the Civil War, this edition was never completed, and so these prints are even rarer than those of the first edition. As the first totally American Audubon elephant folio bird prints, matching those of the first edition in beauty and drama, these are wonderful pieces of American history.
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