Currier & Ives' America: From a Young Nation to a Great Power

Walton Rawls. Abbeville, $45 (488p) ISBN 978-0-7892-1258-0
This hefty collection, originally published in 1979, boasts more than 300 full-color plates created and distributed by famed 19th century American lithographers Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, whom author Rawls (Wake Up, America!: WWI and the American Poster) credits for teaching U.S. citizens "what it meant to be American." Many artists contributed to Currier & Ives's catalog of prints, which depicted historical events (as imagined by the artists) and everyday American life (seasonal scenes, sports, and portraits). Marketing its prints as "Colored Engravings for the People," the firm prided itself on their affordability and popularity. Some of the most renowned and valuable hand-colored Currier & Ives prints are here, including "The Life of a Hunter/A Tight Fix," "The American National Game of Baseball," and "Autumn in New England/Cider Making." Rawls provides an intricately researched introductory essay chronicling the rise and fall of Currier & Ives, but he writes in an archaic style with excessive use of exclamation points. By the early 1900s, demand for lithographs diminished, thanks to improvements in offset printing, and Currier & Ives ceased operations in 1907, but this book illustrates the firm's thriving Americana legacy. Color illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-7892-6078-9
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