Original Bien Edition Children's Warbler. Good condition as shown.
21 x 26 1/2 inches
Good condition as shown. The rarest of all Audubon editions. Chromolithograph by J. Bien. The Bien edition prints of the Birds of America were produced by the Audubon family, and thus are properly termed 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. Larger images were printed on a single page as in the Havell edition, whereas smaller images such as this one were printed two per page. All the larger images as well as smaller images cut from the right side of the sheet carry the credit "Chromolithy by J. Bien, New York, 1860". The left side images, such as this one, carry only the credit to Audubon. 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