FORT WORTH, Texas --- On August 16, the Amon Carter Museum presents "The America of Currier & Ives," an exhibition of 65 of the best and most popular prints by renowned lithographers Nathaniel Currier (1813--1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824--1895). The works are drawn from the museum's extensive permanent collection of prints, which comprises more than 5,700 objects. The exhibition is on view until March 7, 2004.
In the latter half of the 19th century, the American lithography firm operated by Currier and his brother-in-law, Ives, achieved remarkable success as a purveyor of popular prints. It is estimated that their New York studios produced more than 1 million impressions of more than 7,000 subjects---approximately 95 percent of all lithographs sold in that era. They proudly advertised their company as "the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints" and proclaimed their audience to be "the people" who inhabited their "democratic country." Ironically, despite their desire to produce affordable prints, their work has accrued in value, thanks in part to the activities of avid collectors. Today, they are highly prized as valuable records of popular taste and works of art in their own right.
The exhibition highlights the technical mastery of their work, as well as explores the special nature of their appeal for American audiences past and present. Four thematic sections make up the exhibition: "Over Land and Water" features folio prints depicting the astonishing growth of American transportation during the 19th century; "Everyday Life" includes images depicting common domestic and rural activities; images of the American West are grouped together in "Popular Frontiers"; and "Sporting Propositions" features prints of Americans engaged in the era's popular sporting activities, including horse racing, hunting and fishing.
The Star-Telegram is the official print sponsor of the Amon Carter Museum.