Lasting Impressions: The Artists of Currier & Ives
September 17, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Lasting Impressions investigates the role of Frances Bond Palmer and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (two of the most prolific artists of Currier & Ives) in the New York art world of the Victorian era—an art world where the artists and publisher invite us to reconsider our notions of artistic creation.
Trained as a lithographer in London, Palmer moved to New York in the 1840s. She became an influential artist-lithographer and the only woman to successfully build a career as a professional in this field. British-born Tait moved to New York in the 1850s. He was trained as a lithographer but established himself in America as a painter of animals and sporting scenes. His career depended heavily on lithographic reproduction and a collaborative approach to painting learned in the lithographic workshop.
In association with Currier & Ives, Palmer and Tait produced some of today’s most sought-after prints: the delicately colored Long Island sporting scenes drawn on stone by Palmer from her own sketches; Tait’s vibrant depictions of animals observed up-close in the Adirondacks of northern New York; and Palmer’s dramatic nocturne landscapes evocative of the era’s fascination with the power of steam on land and water.
On view in the East Gallery will be more than 40 works of art carefully selected from the museum collection as well as private collections. The exhibition will also feature several multimedia installations, including a video documenting the history of Currier & Ives and interactive touch-screens, encouraging the viewer to explore conservation findings and physical evidence of the artistic process. As visitors compare their reactions to the exhibition prints and the images on the touch-screens, they will be able to identify traces of the lithographic process and exercise their judgment as instant “connoisseurs” of Currier & Ives prints.
*Image at top: Frances B. Palmer, artist, Currier & Ives publishers, A Race for the Buckhorns. On the Mississippi. New York, N.Y., 1866. Private Collection.