Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More than just a pretty picture

At Christmastime, when I was a little girl, I would often  encounter what I considered to be quintessential scenes of the season.  As I crunched on sugar cookies from store-bought tins, I would gaze at the illustrations on the covers of the cute little boxes.  I wondered about what life was like for the people pictured there.  They were dressed in old fashioned clothing, ice skating or sleigh riding, enjoying the fun that comes with snow.  
Winter Morning in the Country, courtesy of the Currier & Ives Foundation
Now, when you have to get up early to shovel and scrape, winter seems to be a bit of a hassle.  And, those Christmas pictures don't seem to be as prevalent as they used to be.  But, for you art lovers out there, Currier and Ives, a lithographic firm (NYC 1834-1907), is a fascinating subject for study.  In fact, the firm employed many of America's "great" artists, including George Inness, Thomas Nast and Eastman Johnson.  Promoting itself as creating inexpensive popular prints for the masses, the firm produced illustrations that spread throughout the country's collective consciousness. These prints and reproductions certainly captured my imagination, and I hope you appreciate them as well.

Enjoy the season!
American Farm Scenes (#4 Winter), N. Currier courtesy of the Currier & Ives Foundation

1 comment:

Earl Grey said...

Thanks for sharing this. What a great reminder of art that makes an entree into popular culture. Incidentally, the Currier and Ives prints were the Jacobs family's foray into art collecting. Now, look at their (and our) collection. The variety and expanse of their collection is such a far cry from the imagery on a sugar cookie tin. But, in the end, each is indicative of art, culture, and context. Now, let's get some coffee and munch on a few cookies!