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Friday, December 23, 2011

Offering of the Day: A Lovely Railroad Scene by the Iconic Firm of Currier & Ives

Currier & Ives
The Danger Signal 
Accidents Will Happen. Insure Against Them in the “Old Reliable”
Copyright 1884 by Currier & Ives, New York 
Printed in Oil Colors by Currier & Ives, 115 Nassau Street, New York 
Paper size: 31 1/2 x 22 inches 
Framed: 45 1/2 x 36 inches 
$18,000

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.  Arader Galleries presently has available a remarkable number of the most spectacular lithographs produced by this renowned firm, and the images reproduced here are only the most recent lithographs to become available.

Currier & Ives' broad productivity was accompanied by consistently high standards of printing and hand-coloring, and their ability to draw on original works by many of the finest American genre painters of the times, including (among many others) Fanny Palmer, Louis Maurer, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait and George Durrie.  The present selection of available lithographs is of significant scope, comprising a number of the most desirable and rare Currier & Ives images in existence.

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