Central-Park, Winter: The Skating Pond
Published by Currier & Ives, 1862
Museum of the City of New York, Harry T. Peters Collection
Currier and Ives was a printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895).Currier first worked as a printmaker in the firm of Stodart & Currier, and then later as N. Currier (1835-1856). Newspapers did not have pictures. Tfore, the public was interested in some source for pictures of recent newsworthy events. In 1835, Currier produced the print, "Ruins of the Planter's Hotel, New Orleans, which fell at two O'clock on the Morning of the 15th of May 1835, burying 50 persons, 40 of whom Escaped with their Lives." The print was moderately successful. In 1840, he produced "Awful Conflagration of the Steamboat Lexington in Long Island Sound on Monday Evening, January 18, 1840, by which melancholy occurrence over One Hundred Persons Perished". The print was very successful, and Currier soon had a weekly insert in the New York Sun . In 1852, Ives started working as the accountant for the firm. Ives improved the bookkeeping for the firm and also streamlined the print production process. In 1857, Ives became a partner in the firm. The two became close friends. Currier and Ives described itself as "Publishers of Cheap and Popular Pictures". Their pictures were indeed hugely popular; from 1835 to 1907 they produced over a million prints by a process of hand-colored lithography . A staff of artists produced the lithographs. The colors were applied in an assembly-line style of operation, typically by German immigrant girls, each of whom added a single color to the print. The prints depicted a variety of scenes in American life, including winter scenes, horse racing images, portraits of people, pictures of ships, pictures of sporting events, and ferocious battle scenes from the American Civil War. Currier died in 1888. Ives remained active in the firm until his death in 1895, Due to improvements in offset printing and photo engraving, the public demand for lithographs gradually diminished. Currier & Ives closed in 1907. Today, original Currier and Ives prints are much sought-after by collectors, and modern reproductions of them are popular decorations. Especially popular are the winter scenes, which are commonly used on American Christmas cards. The Christmas -themed song Sleigh Ride mentions the company by name. ((( MAKE ME AN OFFER I CAN'T REFUSE : ))) !!! MOST OFFERS ACCEPTED !!!