New York Historical Society is exhibiting its entire
collection of 474 bird watercolors by John James Audubon
for the first time.
They're being shown chronologically in
three exhibitions over three years. The first group went on view
The collection includes 435 watercolors
engraved for Audubon's monumental "The Birds of America." The
intricately detailed, life-size renderings are the naturalist's
greatest work. An original edition of Audubon's book, known as
the double elephant folio, is also being shown. Its plates will be
The 3 1/2-foot-tall volume features all
the avian species known to Audubon in early 19th-century North
America. He sold the engraved plates in a subscription series. The museum purchased all the watercolors, except one, from the
artist's widow in 1863.
The first exhibition ends May 19.
AP photo/New York Historical
Society, John James Audubon