Museum Holiday Schedule

The New-York Historical Society Museum will be open Wednesday, December 24, 10am-3pm and will reopen Friday, December 26, 10am-8pm. For details, please visit our calendar.

Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown (Part II of The Complete Flock)

Mar 21 2014 - May 26 2014

Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown, Part II of the highly successful tripartite series Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete Flock, will continue showcasing masterpieces from the New-York Historical Society collection of John James Audubon’s preparatory watercolors for the sumptuous double-elephant-folio print edition of The Birds of America (1827–38), engraved by Robert Havell Jr.

John James Audubon, Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Havell plate no. 211, 1821. Watercolor, oil, pastel, graphite, gouache, black ink, and collage on paper, laid on card. Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.211

Parts Unknown will consider Audubon as an established artist-naturalist, a world citizen, and a celebrity in an expanding nation—no longer the young Frenchman who created the “early birds” displayed in the first installment. This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition follows Audubon into uncharted territories—geographic, artistic, and scientific—as he encountered and mapped new species and grappled with the disappearing illusion of America’s infinite wilderness. It galvanized his awareness about the necessity of conserving species and habitats.

Audubon’s Aviary Gallery Tour

Speaker: 
Roberta Olson
Mon, April 22nd, 2013 | 11:00 am

Note: This event is sold out

 

EVENT DETAILS

This spring, the New-York Historical Society celebrates the sesquicentennial of its purchase of the 470 avian watercolors by Audubon, including the 435 models for The Birds of America, from Lucy Bakewell Audubon in 1863.

Northern Parula (Parula americana), Study for Havell pl. no. 15

Object name 
Northern Parula (Parula americana), Study for Havell pl. no. 15
Date 
1821
Medium 
Watercolor, pastel, black ink, graphite, and gouache with selective glazing on paper, laid on card
Dimensions 
18 1/2 x 11 5/8 in. (47 x 29.5 cm)
Credit Line 
New-York Historical Society, Purchased for New-York Historical by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon
Object Number 
1863.17.15
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Audubon: National Treasures—Birds of Winter for The Birds of America (1827–38)

Jan 7 2013 - Feb 24 2013

Looking at these four watercolors you are enjoying an experience similar to that of John James Audubon’s (1785–1851) original subscribers to The Birds of America (1827-38). The watercolors are rotated on a quarterly basis to limit the potential damage caused by their exposure, ensuring that these national treasures are available to future generations.

With Victor Gifford Audubon (1809–1860)
Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), Havell plate no. 368, ca. 1836–37
Watercolor, graphite, oil, gouache, black ink, pastel, and black chalk with touches of
glazing on paper, laid on card
Purchased for New-York Historical by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon,
1863.17.368

Right:

Smew (Mergellus albellus), Havell plate no. 347, ca. 1834–35
Watercolor, graphite, pastel, oil, and black ink with scratching out and touches of glazing
on paper, laid on card
Purchased for New-York Historical by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon,
1863.17.347

Swing Time: Reginald Marsh and Thirties New York

Jun 21 2013 - Sep 1 2013

With his calligraphic brushstrokes and densely cluttered, multi-figured compositions, Reginald Marsh recorded the vibrancy and energetic pulse of New York City. In paintings, prints, watercolors and photographs, he captured the animation and visual turbulence that made urban New York life an exhilarating spectacle. His work depicted the visual energy the city, its helter-skelter signs, newspaper and magazine headlines and the crowded conditions of its street life and recreational pastimes.

Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Twenty Cent Movie, 1936. Egg tempera on composition board, 30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase 37.43 © 2011 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reproduction, including downloading this work, is prohibited by copyright law without written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

His subjects were not glamorous or affluent New Yorkers, but those in the middle and lower class—Bowery bums, burlesque queens, Coney Island musclemen, park denizens, subway riders and post-flapper era sirens. Marsh was fascinated by the crass glamour, gaudiness and sexuality these city inhabitants exhibited in public, as well as by the humanity expressed by those living under severe economic and social duress.

Audubon’s Aviary: Part I of the Complete Flock

Mar 8 2013 - May 19 2013

For more information on Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown (Part II of The Complete Flock), open March 21-May 26, 2014, click here.
 
To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the New-York Historical Society’s purchase of the Audubon avian watercolors and the the release of the lavishly illustrated book Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for “The Birds of America”―published by the New-York Historical Society and Skira/Rizzoli and winner of a 2013 New York Book Show Award—the New-York Historical Society plans a sweeping three-part exhibition to showcase every masterpiece from its unparalleled collection of John James Audubon’s preparatory watercolor models for the sumptuous double-elephant-folio print edition of The Birds of America (1827–38). Over three years Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete Flock (Parts I–III), will feature all 474 stunning avian watercolors by Audubon in the collection, alongside engaging state-of-the-art media installations that will provide a deeper understanding of the connection between art and nature.

John James Audubon (1785-1851), Great Egret (Ardea alba), 1821. Watercolor, graphite, pastel, gouache, white lead pigment, black ink, and black chalk with selective glazing on paper, laid on card. New-York Historical Society, Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.18.30

The trilogy Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete Flock is a once-in-a-lifetime series (2013–2015) that will explore the evolution of Audubon’s dazzling watercolors in the order in which they were engraved. Visitors to New-York Historical will have the unique opportunity to view these national treasures sequentially and in their entirety for the first time—the same way his original subscribers received the Havell plates.

Lincoln’s and Other Sparrows for The Birds of America

May 13 2009 - Dec 3 2009

The New-York Historical Society, which holds all 435 dazzling preparatory watercolors for John James Audubon's The Birds of America (1827-38), continues to showcase a thematic selection of these masterpieces, rotating them to ensure that these national treasures remain available to future generations.

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), Havell plate no. 193, 1833, John James Audubon, 1785-1851, Watercolor, graphite, pastel, and gouache with touches of black ink and selective glazing on paper, laid on card, Credit Line: Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.193

Sparrows: Good Things Come in Small Packages

Paintings >

Teaser: 

The New-York Historical Society houses an outstanding collection of over twenty-five hundred American paintings—primarily portraits, genre scenes and landscapes—dating from the colonial period through the twentieth century, as well as a select number of European works. It includes the personal collection of the New York merchant and pioneering art patron Luman Reed, as well as the collection of Robert L. Stuart, another nineteenth-century New York philanthropist and art collector.

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Drawings >

Teaser: 

One of the jewels in the Museum’s crown is its drawing collection, numbering over 8,000 sheets. Collected since 1816, this distinctive trove is the country’s earliest public drawing collection. It is also one of the finest, whose strength resides in its unparalleled late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century material to furnish a comprehensive survey of American art from its inception, dominated by European artists, up through the 1860s, by which time native-born artists had asserted an American identity.

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Highlights >

Teaser: 

The New-York Historical Society Museum and Library houses a treasure trove of materials relating to the founding of our country, the history of art in America, and the history of New York and its people. The Museum houses more than 60,000 works and artifacts, including fine art, decorative art, historical artifacts, and ephemera. Fine art holdings include renowned Hudson River School landscapes; masterpieces of colonial and later portraiture; John James Audubon’s watercolors for The Birds of America; an encyclopedic collection of sculpture; and much more.

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