________________________Please do not hesitate to direct all comments, questions, and inquiries to grahamarader@gmail.com_____________________________

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Falcon in Flight

Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) 

Louis Agassiz Fuertes was the most widely acclaimed American ornithological artist of his time. Born in Ithaca, New York, Fuertes began drawing birds at an early age, inspired by Audubon’s Birds of America. By the time he was seventeen, his illustrations had qualified him as an associate member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. Fuertes quickly became associated with leading ornithological scientists and artists, and he received professional commissions while still an undergraduate at Cornell. Fuertes went on to produce a vast body of work for an extremely broad range of projects. His paintings and drawings invariably convey the artist’s extremely careful study of his subjects’ form and behavior, and his diligence, precision and skill in draftsmanship produced some of the most animated and engaging bird illustrations of the twentieth century. Fuertes was determined to study and draw birds as they behaved in their natural habitats, unlike his predecessors, including Audubon, who took the easier route of drawing from stuffed specimens. As a result of this scrupulous and sensitive study of living birds, his works are characterized by a much greater accuracy and sense of vitality. Perhaps more than any of the other great bird artists, Fuertes’ birds are always full of life. In the book “A Celebration of Birds: The Life and Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes,” the noted specialist on ornithological art Roger Tory Peterson notes that even today “most bird painters are still influenced directly or indirectly by Fuertes...” Fuertes traveled widely to broaden his knowledge of birds and their habitats. In 1899, for example, he accompanied the Harriman Expedition to Alaska, a group that traveled up the coast as far as Plover Bay in Siberia. Sponsored by the railroad an mining magnate Edward Harriman, the elaborately outfitted expedition included well-known scientists such as John Burroughs and John Muir, landscape artists Frederick Dellenbaugh and Robert Swain Gifford, and photographer Edward Curtis. By that time, Fuertes was widely acclaimed himself, his illustrations having been disseminated in a number of publications. Yet his original watercolors, the most compelling testaments to the unparalleled abilities of this great bird artist, are quite rare.

At Arader Galleries we have in our collection the charming and detailed drawing of the Falcon in Flight. It was given as a Christmas gift to Henry “Harry” L. Ferguson in December 1923 by the artist, who was Mr. Ferguson’s friend and hunting partner. After H.L. Ferguson’s death in 1959, the work was inherited by his son, Charlie. After Charlie’s death this past January, Arader galleries acquired this fine work by Fuertes. Henry L. Ferguson, a son of one of island’s owners, served as the president of the Fishers Island Farms for more than 40 years, and was involved in many aspects of the Island’s development. His true passions, however, had little to do with business. He was an avid amateur ornithologist who loved to collect and study Fishers Island bird life, and a self-taught archaeologist who spent countless hours scouring the Island for Native American artifacts.



LOUIS AGASSIZ FUERTES (AMERICAN, 1874-1927), Falcon in Flight, watercolor and gouache on paper, signed ‘Louis Agassiz Fuertes’ l.l. Inscribed ‘To Harry Ferguson Recalling Many Happy Days at Fisher Island With a Merry Christmas from Louis Agassiz Fuertes’ Dated ‘Dec 25 1923’ l.l., 1923.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018


A Female Eclectus Parrot (Le Perroquet grand Lori)
 Jacques Barraband (1768-1809)


At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the explorer and ornithologist François Levaillant (1753-1824) created the then most compelling work on parrots, the Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets. The monograph was published by Levrault between 1801 and 1805, comprised of two volumes and 145 plates. For the illustrations, Levaillant asked Jacques Barraband (1768-1809), as his bird watercolors were considered masterpieces of French ornithological illustration. Barraband was held to be one of the greatest bird illustrators of his time, impressing even Napoleon Bonaparte, who later became his patron.

    Ornithological works had considerable appeal for educated readers, primed by several decades of writing which drew a symbolic connection between birds and 'sensibility'.[1] With Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets Levaillant focused solely on parrots. contributing vastly to the ever-increasing study of ornithology, a specialist field of natural history that had previously only been studied on a small scale. Combined with the discovery of new printing techniques, it met the new demand for beautifully produced works. This resulted in a monograph on parrots with outstanding comprehension, quality, and refinement. Levaillant’s bird books with lavishly colored illustrations formed a legacy hardly matched in the history of ornithological publication.[2]

This watercolor is a lovely depiction of the vibrantly colored Eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus, Müller 1776) (ill. 1). This medium-sized parrot can be found in the Melanesia region and northeastern Australia. The Eclectus is a very unusual genus in the parrot family and has puzzled scientists for centuries. Of all parrots, the Eclectus parrot is the most sexually dimorphic. The colors of the plumage contrast vastly, which is such an oddity that it caused incorrect descriptions of the birds for decades. The males have a bright coral and yellow upper bill, red flanks, and mostly bright emerald green plumage. As for the females, they have virtually a complete opposite color scheme; a black bill and a predominately red coloration of varying shades, and most subspecies have beautiful blue or lavender-purple breast feathers. Even the eye color of the genders differs (ill. 2). Their head and breast feathers look like silky hair which makes them, combined with their bright colors, uniquely beautiful. Males and females differ so much that they were long thought to be different species. The first males were described by P. L. S. Muller in 1776. Even great naturalists like John Gould were tricked for a long time. It was not until 1874 that males and females of this species were finally united under the same name.[3]

The Eclectus has an unusual and complex breeding culture, resulting in communal breeding, where uncles and aunts help rear young in a group family situation.[4] Unique to this family of parrots, they are polygamous[5] and polygynandrous.[6] Their breeding strategy could be the reason for the sexual dimorphism. Presumably, the female is so vividly colored because she stays in her nest for up to 11 months out of the year and her bright plumage helps the males locate her. She rarely leaves her nest and is totally dependent on the males to feed her throughout the year. The males, being primarily green, blend in with the forest as they travel from nest to nest in hopes that one of the females may select him as a mate.[7] Eclectus parrots are very intelligent birds and are classified among the top three parrots for talking ability, rivaling the African Grey and Amazon parrots. They have an empathetic nature and a laid-back personality that makes them very favorable as pets. 

In his monograph, Levaillant included three Eclectus parrots; le Perroquet grand Lori and two other varieties of the species. Currently, nine subspecies of Eclectus parrots are recognized. The female on this watercolor has a lavender colored breast and a yellow vent and underside of the tail, therefore it can be identified as the Eclectus roratus vosmaeri. The Vosmaeri's Eclectus is found in the northern and central Moluccas with the island of Halmahera having the dominant population. As noted before, naturalists have misgendered these birds in the past. In this case, Levaillant thought the bird to be a male. Due to his connections with the upper class of Holland and Paris, Levaillant was able to see multiple specimens of these birds, such as those of the renowned Dutch collector Jacob Temminck (1748-1822). Levaillant owned a specimen as well until he let it became part of the cabinet of the Jardin des Plantes.

With the Eclectus parrot, Barraband was able to portray a bird with an incredible beauty along with scientific accuracy that few ornithological artists have been able to achieve. The meticulous hand-coloring displays delicate modulations of tone and color, fine lines, and perfect craftsmanship. Its plumage has a richness, texture, and translucence, providing remarkable detail and incredibly subtle gradations of color. By painting the branch in a looser manner, he created a contrast that makes the bird itself seem more detailed. Indeed, the featured work is exceptional, as can be seen in the bright colors of the plumage, the smoothness of the dark bill, and the excellent manner in which the feet are drawn. Le Perroquet grand Lori is emblematic of Barraband’s works of art, particularly in his later period. Therefore, it is no wonder it was on the cover of the Sotheby’s 1988 auction catalog, with the sale of many of the greatest ornithological watercolors from the library of Marcel Jeanson ( (1885-1942).[8] Later on, this work of art was in the possession of James Oswald Fairfax, a passionate connoisseur whose interest in the fine and decorative arts spanned eras, cultures, and continents. The birds pose is serene, elegant, but it simultaneously looks at the beholder as if it is keeping an eye on him. It perfectly reflects the calm yet intelligent nature of the Eclectus parrot. Levaillant and Barraband's ability to produce such a fine example of this vibrantly colored parrot is a testament to the ornithologist’s knowing eye and the artist’s exceptional talent, as well as the brilliance of this historic collaboration. Therefore, we are very pleased to offer this magnificent work of art by Barraband as part of our collection that contains many his most beautiful watercolors, being the originals for the illustrations in Levaillant’s bird books. 

Description provided by Sandra van der Sommen, a specialist in bird prints and watercolors. Sandra received a BA with a specialty in prints and printing techniques from Leiden University. Her broad interest in nature specifically ornithology - is the source of her curiosity in Natural History prints, drawings and books from the 15th till the mid-19th century. For her thesis she researched the monograph Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis (1801-1806) by François Levaillant (1753- 1824), with a focus on the bird-of-paradise engravings. These birds were illustrated by Jacques Barraband (1768-1809). Barraband is considered to be the best bird illustrator of his time. Sandra has worked with the extensive watercolor collection at Arader Galleries, providing in-depth descriptions of ornithological works.  

Please contact Sandra at (212) 628 7625 or send an email to
sandra.aradergalleries@gmail.com to arrange a viewing of this work, or visit Arader Galleries at 1016 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.


Illustration 1,
Jacques Barraband, A Female Eclectus Parrot (Le Perroquet grand Lori), ca. 1800, pencil, gouache and watercolor on paper, 20 5/8 x 15 1/8 cm. 


Illustration 2

Two Eclectus parrots. Left, the Female. Right, the male. 





[1] L.C. Rookmaker, P. Mundy, I. Glenn. E. Spary, François Levaillant and the Birds of Africa, Johannesburg: The Brenthurst Press, 2004, p. 129.
[2] L.C. Rookmaker, P. Mundy, I. Glenn. E. Spary, François Levaillant and the Birds of Africa, Johannesburg: The Brenthurst Press, 2004, p. 149.
[3] Robert Heinsohn, “Ecology and Evolution of the Enigmatic Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus)”, Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Jun. 2008), p. 146
[4] Clarice Brough, CAS, http://animal-world.com/encyclo/birds/Eclectus/Eclectus.php
[5] Where multiple males mate with one female.
[6] where both sexes have multiple sexual partners.
[7] Clarice Brough, CAS, http://animal-world.com/encyclo/birds/Eclectus/Eclectus.php
[8] Sotheby's Monaco S.A.M., Bibliotheque Marcel Jeanson ; deuxieme partie ; ornithologie. 1988, The Hillingdon Press.

Monday, July 30, 2018

July 28th Prices Realized and Auction Success

Dear Friends,

This Saturday marked another successful auction at Arader Galleries!  We are delighted to announce our July sale totaled $1,226,283. The 90 lot sale featured a selection of outstanding material. The Audubon Birds section had highlights of Lot 7, the Ruffed Grous selling for $48,000 Hammer and Lot 9, the Reddish Egret or Purple Heron achieving a total price of $54,900.

A few choice oil paintings were sold and included Lots 54 and 55, two spectacular works by Conrad Wise Chapman of the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl Mountains in Mexico and Monterrey from the Cerro del Chipinque Valley. They sold for $24,400 and $31,720 respectively. 

Finally the sale rounded out with an excellent offering of antique maps and books. Lot 79, a beautiful manuscript map of Nookta Sound by Quimper sold for $35,380, Lot 82, a 1584 second Latin edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sold for $97,600, and finally Lot 87 a gorgeous second edition of Gould's Monograph of the Trogonidae sold for $26,840.

Our Next Auction is September 29th, which will be a large sale of choice works including natural history works on paper, antique maps and rare books.

If you have not seen it yet, you are invited to the play of my daughter, Abigail Arader. It is a Broadway musical revival of "Comfort Women: A New Musical." She won the lead role over 1,878 other candidates. There will be performances for all of August and you are invited as my guest.

Hope you can make it.

Truly,

Graham Arader


Lot Title Premium Price
1 Audubon Aquatint, Greenshank PASS
2 Audubon Aquatint, Velvet Duck PASS
3 Audubon Aquatint, Little Tawny Thrush $2,318
4 Audubon Aquatint, Spotted Grous $15,250
5 Audubon Aquatint, Little Screech Owl $8,540
6 Audubon Aquatint, Baltimore Oriole PASS
7 Audubon Aquatint, Ruffed Grouse $48,800
8 Audubon Aquatint, Ferruginous Thrush PASS
9 Audubon Aquatint, Purple Heron $54,900
10 Audubon Aquatint, Great White Heron $61,000
11 Audubon Aquatint, Barred Owl $14,640
12 Audubon Aquatint, Great Horned Owl $48,800
13 Audubon Lithograph, Jaguar PASS
14 Audubon Lithograph, Silver Fox $17,080
15 Audubon Lithograph, Canada Lynx $11,590
16 Audubon Lithograph, Cougar $8,540
17 Audubon Lithograph, Armadillo $9,150
18 Audubon Lithograph, Grizzly Bear $6,710
19 Audubon Lithograph, Polar Bear $6,710
20 Audubon Lithograph, Long-Tailed Deer PASS
21 Menaboni Watercolor, Mockingbird PASS
22 Menaboni Watercolor, Green-winged Teal $7,930
23 Menaboni Watercolor, Woodpecker PASS
24 Jaques Watercolor, Geese PASS
25 Jaques Watercolor, Green Heron PASS
26 Peterson Watercolor, Vultures $9,760
27 Peterson Watercolor, Condors PASS
28 Peterson Watercolor, Hawks PASS
29 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
30 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
31 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
32 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
33 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
34 Sandstrom Watercolor, Woodpeckers $4,880
35 Keuleman Watercolor, Parrott (Kea) PASS
36 Keuleman Watercolor, Parrott (Kaka) PASS
37 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
38 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
39 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
40 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
41 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
42 Besler Hand Colored Engraving PASS
43 Mee Watercolor, Orchid $4,880
44 Mee Watercolor, Airplant PASS
45 Mee Watercolor, Bromeliad PASS
46 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
47 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
48 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
49 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
50 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
51 Nodder Watercolor, Shells PASS
52 Hestenburgh Oil $42,700
53 Hestenburgh Oil $42,700
54 Chapman Oil, Mexico $24,400
55 Chapman Oil, Monterrey $31,720
56 Janssonius Map of American Colonies $2,440
57 Van Keulen Map of New Nederland $12,200
58 Moll Map of American Colonies PASS
59 Mitchell Map of North America, 1755 $201,300
60 Ortelius America Original Copperplate PASS
61 Mercator Map of America PASS
62 Ortelius Map of Pacific Ocean PASS
63 Linschoten Map of South America PASS
64 Ortelius Map of Iceland PASS
65 Blaeu Map of Asia $3,660
66 Blaeu Map of Greece $976
67 Blaeu Map of the World $6,100
68 Manuscript Map of St. Lawrence River, Canada PASS
69 Manuscript Map of France PASS
70 Portolan Map of Indian Coast PASS
71 French Manuscript Map of India PASS
72 Dudley Map of Japan $7,320
73 Dudley Map of Asia $10,370
74 Dudley Map of Bay of Bengal PASS
76 Dudley Map of Papua New Guinea $1,159
75 Dudley Map of the South Pacific PASS
77 Dudley Map of Pacific Central America PASS
78 Manuscript Chart of Vancouver, Canada (Nootka) $35,380
79 Manuscript Chart of Alaska $36,600
80 Origin of Mason Dixon Line $115,900
81 Pitt's English Atlas $122,000
82 Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum $97,600
83 Peron's Account of Australia PASS
84 Jungle Book 1st Ed. Illustrations $17,080
85 Gould Birds of Himalaya, 1st Ed. $21,960
86 Gould Ramphastidae or Toucans, 1st Ed. PASS
87 Gould Trogons, 2nd Ed. $26,840
88 Audubon 1st Ed. Octavo PASS
89 Brookshaw Pamona Britanica, 4to PASS
90 Marguerite De Nevarre, French Poetry PASS
    $1,226,283

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A review of "Comfort Women" and an invitation to you!

Last night my daughter Abigail presented my friends with a simply brilliant performance as the lead in the Musical Comfort Women.

If you were not able to join us, this email is my invitation to be my guest to any performance this August - Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm and 7 pm and Thursdays and Fridays at 7 30 pm at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at 416 East 42nd Street.

Thought you might like to read the review of the distinguished Theater Critic, William Wolf. 



By William Wolf
COMFORT WOMEN--A NEW MUSICAL  Send This Review to a Friend
By now the story of Korean young women made sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II is well known, and battles have been raging to obtain official apologies from Japanese authorities. At first glance the subject hardly seems likely for becoming a musical, but the Dimo Kim Musical Theatre Factory, with an all Asian cast, is showing how it can be done in its revival of “Comfort Women.”
The work has a book by Dimo Hyun Jun Kim, Osker David Aguirre and Joanne Mieses, music by Bryan Michaels and Taeho Park, with Michaels providing the lyrics. Kim has directed with Natanal Hyun Kim as choreographer. Although some of the text is drawn out, the overall production is dramatically moving, as the important concept is fleshed out by an excellent cast.
The story begins in Seoul, Korea in 1942, shifting in succession to Jakarta, Indonesia, Busan, Korea, back to Indonesia, then skipping to Indonesia and Korea in 1945. The plot follows the trail of women lured with promises of work opportunities or forcibly taken to become sex slaves who had to service 50 to 100 Japanese soldiers daily at the peril of death if they refused or try to escape.
Central is the story of Goeun Kim, a teenager superbly played in acting and song by Abigail Choi Arader, who succumbs to the ruse in hope of earning money to support her family as well as to find her captured brother. Arader has an excellent voice, demonstrated when she sings “When You Lose a Son,” “Silence,” and “Twilight” among the show’s more impressive numbers.
The intricate plot also involves a Korean, Minsik (Matheus Ting), who has been pressed into the Japanese army and sympathetically risks his life to aid the Korean women. We get a picture of the brutality of the Japanese abusers and the pathos of the plight of the women in captivity.
There is an especially creative sequence in which the rapes are depicted not by obvious violence, but in symbolically choreographed dance that makes the point esthetically.
“Comfort Women” is also valuable because it gives roles to talented Asian actors generally overlooked in the overall make-up of Broadway and off-Broadway shows. The result in artistic terms is an achievement of authenticity. Among others important in the large cast are Mathew Bautista, Lena Rae Concepcion, Shuyan Yang, Sara States, Roni Shelley Perez , Emily Su and Kenny Mai.
One comes away appreciative of all the work that has gone into “Comfort Women, ” and even if it hardly rises to the level of a great musical, it boasts a reasonably good score and is indeed often moving, enlightening and dramatic in remembering the sad fate of so many Korean women who fell prey to the Imperial Japanese Arny during World War II. At the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 416 West 42nd Street. Reviewed July 28, 2018.


WILLIAM WOLF, critic, author, journalist and lecturer, writes extensively on film and stage and has taught film courses at New York University. He was formerly film critic for the Gannett newspaper chain, a critic and contributing editor for New York Magazine and the film critic of Cue Magazine. His articles have appeared in newspapers throughout the country, national magazines and prestigious annuals. 

If you would like to attend, please let me know when and how many tickets you would like

Thank you,

Graham


Arader Galleries
1016 Madison Avenue
NYC

703 627 0275

My offer of a free ticket to my daughter's starring role in "Comfort Women"

Here is a brief video of Abigail in "Comfort Women"


You are warmly invited as my guest to this show at 416 West 42nd Street for any of the following days in August:

Wednesdays 2 PM and 730 PM, Thursdays 7 30 PM, Fridays 7 30 PM, Saturdays and Sunday 2 pm and 7 30 PM.  

Happy to also say that Abi has been signed as one of the three "Kim Sisters" in the upcoming Musical. 

Our auction is today, Saturday, July 28th at 1 pm.  Please feel free to call me with any questions.  Here is a link to the sale: https://www.invaluable.com/catalog/gvnxyu9bhs

Truly,

Graham

Arader Galleries
1016 Madison
NYC



703 627 0275

Saturday, July 28, 2018


The Ivory-billed Aracari – L’Aracari Azara
Auguste Pelletier (1800-1847)


The last, grand monograph by the explorer and ornithologist François Levaillant (1753-1824) contains a beautiful collection of promerops,[1] birds of paradise, bee-eaters, (wood) hoopoes, scimitarbills, trogons, and turacos. Published by Denné le Jeune between 1807 and 1816/18, it is the third and final part of the series known as Histoire naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis; des Toucans et des Barbus; suivie de celle des Promérops, Guêpiers et des Couroucous![2] Levaillant primarily commissioned Jacques Barraband (1786-1809) for the illustrations within the collection. Barraband’s bird watercolors are considered masterpieces of French ornithological illustration. He was held to be one of the greatest bird illustrators of his time, impressing even Napoleon Bonaparte, who became his patron. Later, when Barraband could not provide more drawings (most likely due to health problems), Auguste Pelletier (1800-1847) became the illustrator. As of now, little is known about Auguste. His works of art are of such phenomenal quality and detail that they easily can be interchanged by Barraband’s (ill. 2). Auguste created the watercolors when he was approximately eighteen years old. Like Barraband, he died before turning fifty, making him relatively unknown.

                This watercolor is a depiction of the Ivory-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus azara), a toucan species Auguste illustrated for this incredible monograph (1). The bird is featured in the last chapter of the monograph; a supplement devoted to newly discovered species that had not yet been illustrated. We are very pleased to offer a magnificent work of art by Auguste as part of our collection that contains many of the most beautiful watercolors, made for Levaillant’s bird books.

                The Ivory-billed Aracari is a member of the toucan family Ramphastidae, which contains over forty known species. Toucans are medium-sized birds, native to the rainforests of Central and South America and the Caribbean. They are known for their brightly marked plumage and large, often-colorful bills. One of the five genera in the toucan family is the Pteroglossus, also known as Aracaris. Most of the fifteen Aracari species look very similar. They have green tails and wings, a red rump, a blackish brown head, and a black, yellow and red banded breast and belly. Besides the Ivory-billed Aracari in the supplement, Levaillant describes six other Aracaris in the second volume, the first chapter being devoted to toucans. In his introduction, Levaillant makes an accurate distinction between the Aracari’s and other toucan genera, based on the work of his predecessor, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707 –1788). According to Buffon, the name ‘Aracari’ was given to this toucan by the natives of Guiana, deriving it from the birds’s cry:

“L'observation que je me permets ici est d'autant plus fondée , que Buffon lui-même , en décrivant sa première espèce d'aracaris , sous le nom de grigri , dit très positivement qu'elle est ainsi appelée à la Guyane , parceque ce mot en exprime à-peu-près le cri aigu et bref.”[3]

There are three subspecies of the Ivory-billed Aracari, the one illustrated by Auguste being the azara (Viellot, 1819).[4] Unlike the other two subspecies, its lower mandible is completely ivory colored, just like the watercolor. The bird is named after the Spanish military officer, naturalist, and engineer Félix de Azara (1746-1821), who observed described over 400 birds on his expeditions in the Río de la Plata region. The Ivory-billed Aracari is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It lives in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Unlike other toucans, this species is very social. It forages alone, in pairs, or in small groups of up to five.[5] They nest in tree holes, each laying 2–4 white eggs. The birds sleep with their young in the same tree hole, their large tails folded up over their backs. These birds have short wings and are primarily arboreal, distinctive characteristics for all toucans. The Aracari diet is mostly fruit-based, but they do eat insects and other small prey.
                As we look at this beautiful watercolor, Auguste portrayed the Aracari in an incredibly detailed way, unparalleled by contemporary ornithological artists. The meticulous hand-coloring displays delicate modulations of tone and color, fine lines, and perfect craftsmanship. Each feather has depth, texture, and translucence, providing remarkable detail and naturalistic color. The detail of the wings and underside of the tail is incredible; It is hard to imagine that these depictions were drawn by the hands of an artist, instead of actual feathers pasted to the paper. The copper plate print version of this watercolor pales in comparison, as it lacks the precise technique originally achieved by Auguste. The sleek, ivory colored bill gives a well-balanced contrast to the colorful plumage, which is rich in tone and variation of feathers. This can be seen by comparing the brightness of the plushy yellow under part to the complex green tones in the wings. Still, there are some differences between these works and living toucans. The issue Auguste and Levaillant had to contend with was the fact that the birds being studied were stuffed models. This explains why the bare, red skin around the eye in living birds is transformed here into a grayish hue. When birds are mounted, these parts cannot be preserved and the colors tend to fade away rather quickly. This portrayal of the Ivory-billed Aracari is life-size and based on a very fine specimen he saw in a Parisian museum.[6]

Description provided by Sandra van der Sommen, a specialist in bird prints and watercolors. Sandra received a BA with a specialty in prints and printing techniques from Leiden University. Her broad interest in nature  specifically ornithology - is the source of her curiosity in Natural History prints, drawings and books from the 15th till the mid-19th century. For her thesis she researched the monograph Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis (1801-1806) by François Levaillant (1753- 1824), with a focus on the bird-of-paradise engravings. These birds were illustrated by Jacques Barraband (1768-1809). Barraband is considered to be the best bird illustrator of his time. Sandra has worked with the extensive watercolor collection at Arader Galleries, providing in-depth descriptions of ornithological works.  

Please contact Sandra at (212) 628  7625 or send an email to
sandra.aradergalleries@gmail.com to arrange a viewing of this work, or visit Arader Galleries at 1016 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.




Illustration 1
Auguste Pelletier (1800-1847), l’Aracari Azara, Watercolor and gouache on paper, ca. 1800, app. 20 1/2 x 15 in. Collection: Arader Galleries. 


Illustration 2
Jacques Barraband (1767-1809), Aracari Koulik de la Guyane Male, Watercolor and gouache on paper, ca. 1800, app. 20 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. Collection: Arader Galleries.





[1] Nowadays, Promerops is used to indicate a family of African sugar birds, which includes two species. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Promerops was a collective name for unrelated birds with long, slender beaks.
[2] The last part is titled: Histoire naturelle des Promérops et des Guêpiers (et des Couroucous, et des Touracos), faisant suite à celle des Oiseaux de Paradis. It is occasionally wrongly described in literature; the third part is then listed as if it consists of three volumes, which is incorrect.
[3] Levaillant, F. Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Rolliers, suivie de celle des Toucans et des Barbus, Paris: Denné le jeune, 1806, vol 2, p.p. 27, 28.
[4] According to Hoyo, Josep del, and Nigel J. Collar. 2014. Illustrated checklist of the birds of the world. Non-passerines, Vol. 1, p.p. 624-627.
[6] Levaillant, F. Histoire naturelle des Promérops et des Guêpiers (et des Couroucous, et des Touracos), faisant suite à celle des Oiseaux de Paradis. Paris: Denné le jeune, 1807-1816/18, p.p. 40, 41.