Win a Copy of the Gorgeous Book ‘Audubon’s Aviary’

Win a Copy of the Gorgeous Book ‘Audubon’s Aviary’

This sumptuous new volume presents Audubon's dazzling watercolors of American birds and tells the story behind their creation.

By the Audubon Editors
Published: 10/28/2012

Audubon's Aviary Book Cover

Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America

By Roberta J. M. Olson

Skira Rizzoli, 448 pages, $85

UPDATE 11/24/12: The contest is now closed.

We've teamed up with the Skira Rizzoli to give away two copies of Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America, by Roberta J. M. Olson. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below, and be sure to include a viable email address (it won't show up on the page). The official rules are below. The contest ends at midnight, Friday, November 23, 2012. In the meantime, here's a little about the magnificent book. Good luck!

It was an awe-inspiring undertaking--to capture images of all the birds of America for the first time. John James Audubon embarked upon this daunting mission in the early nineteenth century. A Haitian-born Frenchman, Audubon immigrated to America and was soon intoxicated with his newly adopted country (he became a citizen in 1812). He crisscrossed the then-young nation as an explorer, naturalist, and self-trained artist--a true pioneer and entrepreneur. Over three decades, Audubon created hundreds of watercolor paintings. He selected a final 435 of these masterworks as the models for the engraved plates of the Havell edition of The Birds of America (1827-38).

Audubon's Aviary returns to these original paintings and tells the story behind this monumental classic with new discoveries about this American icon, as well as fresh insights and engaging quotes from his own compelling writings. These powerful images--all newly photographed using state-of-the-art techniques--reveal a virtuoso talent struggling with and brilliantly overcoming challenges posed in the representation of the natural world. To that end Audubon experimented with novel techniques in modeling, collaging, and mixing media. In comparison with the later prints, these fresh watercolors possess a startling immediacy, vibrancy, and fluidity. They illuminate Audubon's genius, which linked natural history, art, and a respect for the environment. This volume reproduces for the first time all 474 Audubon avian watercolors in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

These vivacious paintings convey Audubon's devotion to his vision with their inscriptions and layers of media wrought with great variety, from magisterially broad strokes to exquisite details. They reveal his working process and how the artist arrived at his revolutionary compositions, which for the first time in history depict all the birds lifesize. Most excitingly, they thrust the viewer directly into the scene--embedded with Audubon in the forests of an Edenic America, observing his amazing creatures in their natural habitats. In fact, Audubon is considered America's first great watercolorist, introducing innovative approaches developed over a lifetime of study. Even judged alongside today's technology, his dramatic tableaux remain some of the most spectacular natural history documents and visually arresting works of art ever produced.

(c) AUDUBON'S AVIARY: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America, by Roberta J. M. Olson, Skira Rizzoli, 2012.



1) Sponsors: Audubon Magazine, an operating unit of National Audubon Society, Inc., 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014 ("Audubon Magazine" or "Audubon"); and Skira Rizzoli, 300 Park Avenue South, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10010 (and together with Audubon and Audubon Magazine, the "Sponsors"). 

2) No purchase necessary.

3) The "Audubon's Aviary Giveaway" ("Contest") is open from 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time ("ET") on October 29, 2012 through 11:59 p.m. ET on November 23, 2012;

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Audubon's Aviary

Wonderful book.


Incredible artwork

Incredible artwork.

Incredible artwork.


I have some of the original Audubon books, I love birds and all wildlife.

Beautiful Book

This looks like a great book both for the images and also for the information on Audubon's techniques.


This book looks fantastic. The artwork is incredible.

Audubon's Aviary

The original watercolors for the birds of America is now a must have for me. I love birds and this book of beautiful illustrations is love at first sight. I hope to see one come my way for Christmas.

You guys rock!

You guys rock!

Looks like a beautiful

Looks like a beautiful book...I hope I win. :-)

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