Catalog Archive
Auction 138, Lot 862

"Fish Crow, Corvus Ossifragus", Audubon, J. J.

Subject: Prints Bird

Period: 1860 (dated)

Publication: The Birds of America

Color: Printed Color

23.5 x 36.5 inches
59.7 x 92.7 cm

This original chromolithograph is Plate 226 from the double-elephant folio Bien edition of Audubon’s great work on American ornithology. Audubon traveled throughout the U.S. and recorded 435 life-size images of every native bird in the country, depicting them in natural poses in their native habitats. This engraving depicts two fish crows in a Honey Locust Tree, one of which is preening while the other has trapped a crab in its claw. The fish crow lives in wetland habitats in the eastern and southeastern United States, and is similar in appearance, but smaller than the American Crow. The full sheet measures 26 x 37-7/8".

Julius Bien was among the pioneers in developing chromolithography (an early form of color printing) in the United States. The Bien edition was initiated by John Woodhouse Audubon, the younger of the two Audubon sons. Originally conceived to be a full reissue of the 435 images in 44 parts consisting of ten images each, the project was discontinued in 1860 after only 15 parts had been issued.

References: Low, Susanne, p. 102 & 352.

Condition: A

A few expert paper repairs in right blank margin, far from image.

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 12/7/2011