Wilson Pl. 21, Canada Jay, Purple Grackle
Oppenheimer Editions Print
13 1/2" x 10 1/2"
Limited edition of 200
Blind embossed with the Oppenheimer Editions logo
American Ornithology—Published by Oppenheimer Editions
Alexander Wilson, born ten years before the American Revolution in Paisley, Scotland, had been a weaver of silk and a widely published poet who ultimately found himself jailed for libel and publicly disgraced. Frustrated and penniless, in 1794 he immigrated to the United States and established himself in Philadelphia. Inspired by the abundance and variety of bird species in the New World, Wilson developed an intense interest in the scientific study and artistic rendering of birds.
The first comprehensive work published on the subject, his American Ornithology added 39 new species to those previously known and earned him the title “Father of American Ornithology”. Comprised of 76 hand-colored engravings, American Ornithology depicts 262 species of birds. Far more accurate and painterly than anyone who preceded him, Alexander Wilson’s engravings and descriptions were well recognized in his lifetime. Thomas Jefferson, an early subscriber, was among his supporters. Alexander Wilson never recovered from his last exhausting river crossing in pursuit of an elusive specimen. He died at the age of 47, one volume short of completing American Ornithology. The final and ninth volume was completed by Alexander Wilson’s ardent supporter, George Ord.
Established in 1999, Oppenheimer Editions has partnered with prestigious museums to make prints from their holdings. Works from the New-York Historical Society’s unrivaled collections of John James Audubon’s watercolors and the Hudson River School paintings are examples of art that otherwise would be unobtainable. Among the institutional collections we have partnered with are the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These are not mere reproductions. They are limited-edition fine art prints made with the finest quality archival pigments on rag watercolor paper and executed to exacting standards.