Thank you for visiting Princeton Audubon Limited.
Princeton Audubon Limited was founded in 1985 by the late David Johnson, a collector of superb Audubon originals who also founded the days paramount printing company - Princeton Polychrome Press. This company, now sold, achieved an enviable nationwide reputation by reproducing fine art prints for the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Detroit Institute of Arts. The finest reproductions of Picasso and Andrew Wythe that you occasionally see on the market today were produced by Princeton.
At the zenith of Dave Johnson’s career and using exceptional artistic resources, David Johnson re-created the actual originals from his world renowned personal collection. Using the direct-camera technique that he pioneered, along with oversized Kodak film with its infinite retention of detail, he produced these award winning one-of-a-kind re-creations.
Many who consider purchasing our prints call and ask how Princetons compare with the Amsterdam and Abbeville editions. We actually bid on the printing of the Amsterdam Edition. (If we had won, it would be called The Princeton Edition) The publisher was The Johnson Reprint Company which was a division of Harcourt Brace, for whom we did much printing. We were given the opportunity to examine the 8 x 10 transparencies from which the Edition was to be printed, and they were not very good and would require much expense in color correction, and this was reflected in our bid which was higher than the bid from the company that eventually did the printing. As expected, the poor quality of the transparencies was reflected in the resulting prints. The Amsterdam Edition, said to be only 250, is good but lacks detail since the 8 x 10 images were enlarged. Any enlargements or reductions result in a loss of detail.
Princetons, however, were directly produced from the original Audubon/Havell antique engravings, not from 8 x 10 transparencies. Instead of working from a small photograph we purchased the actual originals (from Sotheby's or other auction houses) and brought them into our own printing plant. These originals themselves were then carefully mounted before a giant wall-mounted bellows process camera, with film the same size as the print. Thus the exact image was captured on the same size film, and the large, exact image could then be transferred to mechanical printing plates, without any loss of detail.
Abbeville prints were also produced from 8 x 10 transparencies but generally are a step above Amsterdams in quality. Neither the Amsterdam nor Abbeville printing matches the quality and detail of the direct camera process.
Modern ink jet editions, or giclees, depend upon the image entered into the computer. They can be very good or over saturated with ink, but they generally do not match the sharpness and definition of detail that you see in Princetons. One exception to this is The Rare Prints Edition which we sell on our website along with our own Princetons and originals.
The printing of the Princeton Edition actually began as a test of the craftsmanship of our employees. Dave Johnson, on a trip to New York, saw an Amsterdam Print for sale in a gallery and said “We can do better than that.” So he printed one image, saw the results, and decided to produce our edition.