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Meet the Masters

Grade Five

ARTIST: PRINT:

CURRIER & IVES (CURRIER, 1813-1888; IVES, 1824-1895)

THE WHALE FISHERY MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Americana Date: Unknown Size:17.8" x 23.8" Medium: Lithograph

ARTIST - Nathaniel Currier, published a highly colored print of the burning of the steamboat "Lexington" in Long Island Sound, three days after the disaster in 1840. The edition sold like wildfire; he became the most important publisher of colored engravings. James Ives joined the firm in 1852, and the firm became Currier & Ives in 1857.

The prints were lithographs, hand colored using a mass production system. For nearly 50 years

they

published

about

three

new

prints

each

week

on

every

aspect

of

American

life.

These

lithographs featured portraits of notables, Wild West, Indians, sporting and pioneering and other disasters, the Civil War, temperance and political tracts. These lithographs the farthest confines of the land and also had considerable sales abroad.

scenes, fires reached into

PRINT - In the lithograph, Whale Fishery, Currier & Ives depicts a scene from the days when men hunted whales with harpoons. During the 18th century, whale oil was used to light lamps and whalebones were used in the clothing industry. You see the small rowboat close to the whale, with the man in the bow of the boat ready to throw his harpoon at the whale. In the background, there are similar rowboats with men hunting more whales. The three large ships are set towards the back, waiting for the men to kill the whales. Water is coming from the dying whale's spout, and sea gulls hover over him. Currier & Ives has tried to document for us what the whaling days were like.

PORTFOLIO D PAIRED WITH:

WOODRUFF POOR MAN'S COTTON

209

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