"Birds of America" – Bien Edition, 1860
The Bien edition prints
of the Birds of America, just like the Havell editions, were produced by the
Audubon family, and thus are originals. Unlike the Havell edition prints
which were produced in England, the Bien Edition prints were produced
completely in America. Thus, they are truly American originals. In 1858,
about seven years after John James Audubon passed away, his younger son John
Woodhouse Audubon initiated an ambitious project to reissue the Birds of
America to solve some of the mounting financial problems. He recruited the
Roe Lockwood Company in New York city to publish the works and Julius Bien
for lithography. Unlike the Havells which were produced from copper
engraving plates, Julius Bien utilized the newly emerging chromolithography
process as a way of reducing the costs of production. Chromolithography
utilized different sets of printing stones to produce a given plate, some
with different colors to produce the final colored image. The use of
different stones occasionally resulted in very slight misregister of colors
on the dark outlines of birds and background, thus serving as a charming
reminder of chromolithography process. Larger images were printed on a
single page as in the Havell edition, whereas smaller images were printed
two per page. All the larger images as well as some smaller images carry the
credit "Chromolithy by J. Bien, New York, 1860". Thus these images
are commonly referred to as the Bien edition plates. Unfortunately, the
start of the Civil War in 1860 brought an abrupt end to this project (and a
financial ruin to the Audubon family) after only about 105 pages were
printed. It was said that about 100 copies of each page (with bird images)
were produced, but most of them did not survive. The few that have survived
the ravages of time, such as the ones shown on this page, are thus indeed
truly rare-to-find, truly American made, and truly Audubon originals.
Please call 908 510-1621 or
Bien American Flamingo $25,000 SOLD
We offer for sale a full sheet (26”x39”), double
elephant folio, American Flamingo in excellent condition.
The paper has been neutralized and the print cleaned (Dec. 2011).
The color is bright and there are no losses or mars on the print.
The paper fiber is in excellent condition.
Price $25,000. SOLD
No 15-2, Plate 364, Chromolithy by J. Bien, New York, 1860
margins, sheet size 39 7/8 x 26 3/4in, binding edge on the left side. A one
inch repair at the upper left white border edge. Audubon painted these
beautiful adult and juvenile herons against a sunset background in 1831 in
Charleston, SC (Low).
Virginia partridge. Said
to be one of the most dramatic of all Audubon originals. The Bien
edition is rarer than the Havell edition. SOLD
Glossy Ibis, No.13-3, Plate 358,
Chromolithy by J. Bien, New York, 1860
Condition Report: A
beautiful original Audubon chromolithograph from the Bien edition with
nice colors. Dimensions 34 1/4" X 25". It is one of the early test prints
by Julius Bien and lacks the credit at the lower right. A small area of
abrasion along the top left edge white margin that is very easily matted
Cedar Bird, No 3-6 Plate 246, Chromolithy by J. Bien,
New York, 1860.
Condition Report: Dimensions 18 7/8" X 25 5/8". Image
area in Excellent Condition. A 1/4" tear along the bottom edge and a
1/2" tear along the right edge, both reinforced by archival tape. A few
unobtrusive fox marks. Very very slight misregister of colors in the
leaves on the rightside. Painted by Audubon in 1820.
Price: $675 SOLD
Rathbone Warbler, NO 5-10 Plate 89, Chromolithy by
J. Bien, New York, 1860.
Condition Report : Dimensions 19 7/8" X 26 1/2". Small Nicks and tears
(reinforced by archival tape verso) mostly along the right edge, some
handling creases, age toning ( see Pics), very good condition.
Price: $650 SOLD
White-headed Pigeon, No 8-5 Plate
280 Chromolithy by J. Bien New York 1860
Description: A rather beautiful image by Audubon showing the male and
female White-crowned pigeon couple in a tender domestic moment. Audubon
painted these birds perched on the branch of a Geiger tree in Indian Key,
Florida in 1832 (Low). Sheet size 32 5/8" X 26 3/8" (slightly trimmed).
Binder marks along the left edge with a few marginal tears. Occasional 1/2"
tears along the remaining edges. Image in excellent condition with very
nice chromolithy colors on the birds, the leaves and the flowers. $4,975
Audubon Bien Edition Double Elephant
Folio: Semipalmated Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper
Description: A rare double image full
sheet with Semipalmated Sandpiper at the Top (No. 10-9, Plate 336), and
Curlew Sandpiper at the Bottom (No. 10-10 Plate: 333). Size approximately
35 1/2" X 25 1/2", but with slightly uneven borders. The Credits at the
bottom read: "Chromolithy by J. Bien, New York 1860" on the
right, and "Drawn from Nature by J. J. Audubon FRS.FLS" on the
left. Nice margins on all four sides. Paper in very good condition with
normal age toning. A pencil drawn line along the bottom edge. A few tears
along the edges (the largest tear is about 2" long, visible just to the
left of No.10-9 in the Pic of the upper image). All tears are confined
to the margins only, and none entering the images. Some
of the larger tears (1" to 2") reinforced verso with archival tape. This
particular DEF print came from a bound volume, and the verso has an offset
image of the plate behind it (Barn Owl). But this offset image is not at
all visible in the front.
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