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Currier and Ives
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    Nathaniel Currier (March 27, 1813-November 20, 1888), lithographer, born in Roxbury, Massachusetts
    James Merritt Ives (March 5, 1824-January 3, 1895), accountant, born in New York City
    Currier founded a lithography shop (1835)
    Brought in Ives as a partner (1857)
    Firm produced over one million prints of 7500 lithographs
    Firm later taken over by Currier’s and Ives’s sons
    Company was liquidated in 1907
    Ives originally got hired because he was Currier’s brother-in-law.
    Their names overshadowed those of the artists who painted the original works that they copied en masse.
    Their ‘Darktown’ series of prints featured racist stereotypes of buffoonish black people.
    After the firm went under, most of their limestone lithograph printing plates were sold off by weight, with many ending up as landfill in Central Park.
    Currier began working odd jobs at age eight to support the family after his father died.
    Ives modernized and streamlined the printmaking process.
    By the early 1870s, their catalog could accurately boast, ‘Our Prints have become a staple article… in great demand in every part of the country.’
    Reproductions of their winter scenes remain a staple of Christmas cards.
    They get namechecked in the holiday song ‘Sleigh Ride.’ (‘It’ll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives’)

Credit: C. Fishel

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