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Story Keepers Books

Currier & Ives America Imagined by Bryan F. Le Beau

Currier & Ives America Imagined by Bryan F. Le Beau

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When Nathaniel Currier started his publishing business in 1834, the mass production of visual images was almost unknown. Currier and his partner, James Ives, literally changed the American landscape by mass-producing inexpensive lithographs and selling millions of copies that adorned countless homes, businesses, and even barns. The Currier and Ives catalog included some 7,000 works by dozens of artists, accounting for 95 percent of all lithographs purchased nationwide. Bryan F. LeBeau provides the first in-depth study of the sweeping range of Currier and Ives images produced until the end of the century, placing them in historical context as meaningful representations and reflections of American values, beliefs, hopes, and dreams.Currier and Ives played a role in American culture beyond that of simply making images affordable. The company's popular historical images, from portraits of politicians and statesmen to depictions of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and life on the frontier contributed to the creation of a national public memory. Other genres of prints, including the ever-popular political cartoons, represented other concerns of the day, including industrialization, family life, the status of African- and Irish- Americans, and the political scene. As LeBeau argues, this wide-ranging repertoire of themes not only charted the enthusiasms and fantasies of nineteenth-century Americans, but also reflected their biases, ambitions, and fears. By exploring these mass-produced images, LeBeau sheds new light on the cultural history of America.

Goodreads: 3.5

Hardcover, 2001

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