Joel and Laura’s First Week Printing their Book on the Audubon Bien Edition in Verona, Italy

March 24th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Monday- Tuesday 3-18/19-13 

We have arrived in Verona to finally print the Bien book. It is hard to believe that after all of the preparation we will be seeing ink on paper in less than 24 hours. We start early Wednesday morning at Elcograph a very large printing facility about 12 minutes from our hotel. The hotel was built in 800 AD. Above our bed is a sign that says Caesar slept here. (just kidding).

Laura and Joel Oppenheimer arrive in Verona.

Laura and Joel Oppenheimer arrive in Verona.

Wednesday 3/20/13

We are finally on press. The printer is world class having produced many fine art books for Norton and other major publishers as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many other museums. So our book will be in good company. Still, everybody is excited about the project because of the scale of the book. This will be the largest book of Audubon prints produced since the original Bien Edition was published in 1858. The first sheet has been approved and the presses are turning.

Joel Proofing the imagery for his new book

Joel proofing the imagery for his new book

Staff at Elcograph

Friday 3/22/13 

After two and a half days of printing (10-12 hour days) we have finished 12 sheets. That’s one third of the book. In the picture you can see Laura, Alessandro and Roberto holding one of the printed sheets. I will replace the photo next week with one in better focus. The paper is double-double elephant folio; twice the size of the original Bien book. Each sheet has eight pages printed on it. Once it is folded and stitched, the finished book will be 1/4 double elephant size. In the nineteenth century this would have been called “folio”.

Pages of the book hot off the press!

Pages of the book hot off the press!

James Bateman’s “A Monograph of Odontoglossum”

January 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

James Bateman (1811-1897), was one of the early developers of orchid culture. He sponsored expeditions to Mexico and South America enabling collectors to gather rare specimens. He published three lavish books about orchids. The Orchidacea of Mexico and Guatemala, 1837– 1843, A Second Century of Orchidaceous Plants, and A Monograph of Odontoglossum, 1864– 1874. Bateman pioneered “cool orchid cultivation” which enabled the Odotoglossum to be cultivated in England, replicating the cool arid climate of the cloud forests in Central America where these exotic flowers are found. Walter Hood Fitch, (1817 – 1892) the most prolific botanical artist of all time, was employed by Bateman to create the paintings for his magnificent orchid books. Fitch also rendered the images on the lithographic stones and his name or initials are found on every hand-colored plate.
Exceedingly rare, A Monograph of Odontoglossum is comprised of thirty large scale hand-colored lithographs. The plates offered here are all excellent examples the condition is perfect, the hand-coloring perfectly preserved in its original state.

If you are interested in more information about these beautiful prints, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300 or e-mail us at

Inquiries are received with pleasure.



Edward Lear’s Birds of Europe

February 15th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Lear Invitation

Click here to view available prints.

Joel Oppenheimer, Inc.  is pleased to announce the exhibition of Edward Lear’s Birds, from John Gould’s Birds of Europe, a newly acquired collection of 67 remarkable antique prints.  Considered one of the greatest ornithological artists of his era, the multi-talented Edward Lear (born May 12, 1812) was a self taught naturalist and painter who later became famous for authoring books of nonsense poems and limericks.  Interest in his writings and musings carry on to this day with websites dedicated to his life and legacy.

At age 14, Lear began his career as an artist. Many major publishers of nineteenth century English ornithology and natural history employed the young artist for his exacting and masterly skill. Lear’s work is further distinguished because he was the first bird artist to draw from living examples, capturing not only the precise details of the birds he painted, but also the individual bird’s unique character traits.  Lear worked at the Zoological Society in London where he met John Gould, the most prolific naturalist publisher of the nineteenth century. Lear drew 67 plates and many of the foregrounds for Gould’s Birds of Europe (1832-1837). The plates Lear contributed are among the finest of that work.  The rare, beautifully hand-colored plates acquired by Oppenheimer were drawn and signed by Lear on the lithographic stones. The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free of charge.

In celebration of Lear’s 200th birthday, museums and learning institutions worldwide will be honoring his body of work including the prestigious British Museum in London, London’s Fine Art Society, and Harvard University. The Harvard exhibit, “The Natural History of Edward Lear,” is being curated by Robert McCracken Peck, Senior Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Click here to view Invitation full size

Chicago: March 22 – April 28, 2012
Joel Oppenheimer, Inc. • 312-642-5300
Charleston: May 25 – June 30, 2012
The Audubon Gallery • 843-853-1100


5:30 TO 7:30 P.M.  RSVP by March 19th

312-642-5300 or