The Making of the
"Audubon Centennial Edition"
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America,” double elephant folio is created in tribute to the National Audubon Society and their esteemed mission to conserve our natural ecosystems.
John James Audubon’s ambition and career has been hailed genius and is exemplified in his artistic creativity and historical accomplishments in capturing the reality of our nation’s wildlife in the early 19th century. The significance of his life’s accomplishments has given us one of our most revered national heirlooms. The “Audubon Centennial Edition” achieves this importance as a new generation of a genuine art connoisseur’s treasure.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” is only the third comprehensive collection of prints produced in 182 years since Audubon himself created the original, “Birds of America.” Of notable significance is that the “Audubon Centennial Edition” is the first print edition to meticulously restore the detail and brilliance of these plate image prints as when they were first revealed to art patrons in 1827. The “Audubon Centennial Edition” is created with extraordinary attention to every vital characteristic of each original masterpiece including coloration, print image and paper size. In preparing the Havell engravings each print was captured as a first generation plate image print using a custom digital camera generating a 320-mega-pixel file. Then each print underwent an exceedingly sophisticated rejuvenation process, rendering the finished Giclée plate image print. The new print edition is entirely conceived with archival processes and materials to meet the most stringent requirements and carries a lifetime guarantee. This is a formidable quality to be valued, affording not only years of viewing enjoyment, but prospective appreciation.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” is published in association with the National Audubon Society, with each plate image print bearing their stately embossed logo. Subscribers to the “Audubon Centennial Edition” can be assured a realistic collectible prominence and definitive quality of art. The “Audubon Centennial Edition” is strictly limited to only 200 hundred of each plate image print worldwide.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” like the original, “The Birds of America,” double elephant folio comprises all 435 plate image print painted by Audubon and printed by R. Havell & Son, in London, England.
The 435 plate image prints depict 1,065 birds and each rendering of each species is life-size, an extraordinary reality. Of the 435 plate image prints there are three distinctive print plate sizes referred to as a full plate print, a half plate print and a quarter plate print. Each plate print size in the folio numbers 87 full plate prints, 87 half plate prints, and 261 quarter plate prints respectively. Each plate image print bears a plate number in the upper right hand corner. The plate print numbers in the “Audubon Centennial Edition” correspond to the numbering in the “The Birds of America.” It is our practice to interchange the word plate image print for plate; consequently you can reference our plate image print number in any collector’s guide, or authoritative chronicle and identify the same print image as in “The Birds of America.” All plate image prints produced for the “Audubon Centennial Edition” are from “The Birds of America” double elephant folio collection at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, in Audubon, Pennsylvania.
Subscribers will receive with each plate image print, a Certificate of Authenticity, a John James Audubon Biography, a copy of the original “Ornithological Biography” of the particular bird species as written by John James Audubon, and a guide on “Caring for Your Fine Art.” In addition, the limited edition image prints will be cosseted in an archival sleeve.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” is an extraordinary accomplishment in today’s art world that is destined to become a renowned and significantly respected masterpiece for future generations.
John James Audubon sold his original “Birds of America,” double elephant folio on a subscription basis to each of more than 185 astute patrons at a total price of $1,000. It took more than ten years, from 1827-1838 for subscribers to receive all 435 plate image prints. The most recent purchase of the complete “Birds of America” sold for $8,802,500.
The first 50 of each of the 435 plate image prints in the “Audubon Centennial Edition” are reserved for collectors as complete “Birds of America” collections entitled the “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite.” This is significantly important to the inherent value since only 50 will be issued worldwide and follows in the same tradition as Audubon did with his subscribers.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite” is sold on a subscription basis and will be fulfilled immediately beginning with current published editions and followed with future edition prints as they are created. Zebra Publishing’s mission to restore and publish all 435 plate image prints has inherent complexities in maintaining standards of excellence throughout the project and our pledge is that these values are adhered to from the first to final plate image print. Subscribers can be confident that fulfillment of the entire collection will transpire within a limited time of two years. This is our earnest commitment to you, the collector, assuring prompt ownership of an extraordinary and precious art collection. The regularity in which they are created will determine the delivery frequency of plate image prints. This delivery schedule may be suited to your particular needs providing that a certain consistency in receipt is continual and the final plate image print is accepted within the two-year period.
The John James Audubon “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite” is an extraordinary accomplishment in today’s art world that is destined to become a renowned and significantly respected masterpiece for future generations. Becoming one of the fifty select patron subscribers in the world to acquire the Suite you will realize enriching advantages. We only ask that you, the collector, give your honorable commitment to procure possession of the complete Suite in the two-year period. Remuneration is kindly requested at the time of each delivery of forthcoming plate image prints. Of further significance is that the issue price is your perpetual cost for the duration of publishing until the final plate image print is delivered to you. This special feature is a commitment we pledge to you resulting in an exceptional and inestimable benefit as a subscriber to the “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite.” Several plate image prints have already increased in price and we predict this ascending trend to continue.
There are 435 plate image prints in the “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite” comprised of 87 full plate prints, 87 half plate prints and 261 quarter plate image prints. The original issue price is $1,200.00 for each full and half plate image prints and $500.00 for each quarter plate image print. This brings the total price of the Suite to $339,300.
Subscribers will receive with each Suite, a Certificate of Authenticity, a John James Audubon biography, and ornithological biographies of each bird species as written by Audubon. Additionally the Suite is delivered with four handsome archival presentation box-cases for custody of all 435 plate image prints. Special arrangements are available to have the entire Suite bound in four books as the originals were presented.
Inquiries to availability of the “Audubon Centennial Edition Suite” may be made with any of our authorized dealers or questions may be directed to our “Audubon Centennial Edition” specialists at Zebra Publishing.
We are especially confident that you will cherish and revere ownership of this incredible fine art possession, which will be deemed a historical masterpiece of ceremonial importance.
Museums and Educational Institutions
John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America,” double elephant folio is one of our most historically significant national treasures. John James Audubon is considered one of America’s most preeminent artists and naturalists of the 19th century. With only 120 original four-volume folios known to exist today, the collection is an extremely rare artwork and is enormously valuable. The last public auction of a complete set of prints resulted in the folio selling for $8,802,500. Today, practically all of the folios are in possession of museums and institutions of higher education.
Because of its considerable value, “The Birds of America” folio is commonly protected under strict security. Furthermore, due to its age of 182 years, delicate nature, and potential deterioration, it is also constantly in a preserved sanctuary. Consequently, the public rarely has the opportunity to view complete folios. The protective regard for the folio is understandable, but it is unfortunate that students of natural history, art lovers, print experts and collectors, art historians, and bird lovers rarely get a glimpse of Audubon’s amazing accomplishment. This situation will only worsen as the value of “The Birds of America” folio progressively appreciates.
A suitable alternate would be to have an accurate print facsimile of "The Birds of America” folio continually available for public appreciation and limitless scholar study.
The “Audubon Centennial Edition” has been reviewed and examined by many leading scholars, antique print brokers and art professionals. Their unanimous conclusions have been that our edition is the finest ever produced.
Mr. Larry Hott, Producer/Director of the newly released PBS Documentary Film, “John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature,” utilized our restored print imagery in his high definition film production. The world premiere of the film was held at the Rensselaerville Institute Conference Center, Rensselaerville, New York, during the “John James Audubon and his America Revisited in Film and Conversation” conference. We presented a print exhibit of the “Audubon Centennial Edition” as part of the conference program and received infinite praise from Mr. Hott and attending colleagues.
With our “Audubon Centennial Edition” you can now afford Audubon’s scientific and artistic brilliance to be brought forth so all can appreciate without fear of further deterioration to the original prints. Furthermore, our print edition with its quality of reproduction and restoration approach permits viewers to see virtually how they appeared when first printed by Havell. We have created a print facsimile of the originals to adore, study and appreciate as an accessible American historical document. This is our ambition and worthy contribution to future generations.
To date we have released more than 200 of the 435 plate image prints. Our current plan is to release approximately 15-20 prints per month. The print edition will be delivered on a subscription basis with remittance as edition is received. This provides some financial latitude in respect to budgeting institution or acquiring benefactor funding. Also, we guarantee that the print purchase price is always at issue price regardless of any one-plate image print increasing in value, which several have already done. The “Audubon Centennial Edition” comes with four archival presentation boxes, which accommodate 100 plate image prints in each of three boxes, and fourth box holding 135 prints. Binding service of the 435 plate image prints in a four volume set can be accommodated.
Learning More About Audubon
His Love of Art & Nature
A Guide To Audubon's Birds Of America
by Susanne M. Low
John James Audubon: The Making Of An American
by Richard Rhodes
Audubon - www.auduboninfo.net
by Ron Flynn
John James Audubon: Drawn from Nature
Mr. Larry Hott, Producer/Director
The film is a co-production of Florentine Films/Hott Productions and American Masters.
Audubon - Life and Art in the American Wilderness
by Shirley Streshinsky
The Audubon Reader
Edited by Richard Rhodes
Published by Everyman's Library
Audubon Art Prints - A Collector's Guide to Every Edition
by Bill Steiner