Currier and Ives (1857-1907)
19th Century Americana
New York: 19th Century
The publishing firm of Currier & Ives created the most popular and highly regarded lithographs of quintessentially American scenes ever produced. The quality, vast scope and engagingly populist style of their works have made their names synonymous with an idealistic vision of 19th-century American promise and optimism.
Nathaniel Currier began his lithographic career as an apprentice in 1828. By the mid-1830’s he had established his own firm on Spruce Street in New York City. In 1857 James Ives became a partner in the flourishing business, which went on to produce over 7,000 lithographs by 1907. Currier & Ives was undoubtedly the most prolific firm of lithographers in America, its output greater than that of all the other firms combined. The remarkable scope of this production was matched by the company’s ability to anticipate popular themes and subject matter. Among their many works are lithographs depicting sporting, railroad and rural scenes, marine, and western views, as well as foreign and domestic city views, historical tableaux, and a wide range of sentimental, morally instructive and advertising images.