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From the April 2013 Conservationist

A colored lithograph of Gen. Washington standing in a row boat which is being rowed by soldier across a river with chunks of ice in it

American Spirit:

the Legacy of Currier and Ives

Text and photos courtesy Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

A hand-colored lithograph of a family preparing to take produce, poultry and other goods to market on horses
Preparing for Market, 1856 Hand-
colored lithograph. Idyllic scenes like
this presented the American farm in
an attractive light to the public.

For many, the mention of Currier & Ives conjures up images of horse-drawn sleighs, the holidays and rural winter scenes. Iconic artwork depicting idealized nineteenth-century American life, Currier & Ives' prints have hung in homes and businesses across America for decades and continue to grace the front of many
a greeting card.

A hand-colored lithograph of a steam locomotive on the tracks
The Express Train, undated. Hand-
colored lithograph.The Boston and
Albany Railroad at Greenbush
(East Albany) NY.

Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895) were publishers, not artists. Partnering in 1852, the two men successfully capitalized on rapid advances in the printing industry and enhanced distribution methods to make and sell prints at prices affordable to the general public.

A hand-colored lithograph showing the Statue of Liberty and Manhatan, and surrounding rivers
To commemorate the friendship forged
between France and the United States
during the American Revolution, sculptor
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was
commissioned to design the Statue
of Liberty (also known as
"Liberty Enlightening the World").

Currier & Ives commissioned art from a number of artists-including such prominent artists as Eastman Johnson, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, and George Durrie. In the seventy-two years that Currier & Ives was in business, the company produced more than 8,000 lithographs.

Note: All works of art represented here are courtesy of: Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts. Gift of Lenore B. and Sidney A. Alpert, supplemented with Museum Acquisition Funds.