New York Bay from Bay Ridge, L. I.
Currier & Ives, 1860
Currier and Ives View of New York Bay
Fanny F. Palmer (1812-1876) (after)
New York Bay From Bay Ridge, L.I.
Currier & Ives, 125 Nassau Street, New York: 1860
Hand-colored lithograph
17 x 22 inches
$2,800

Prospect view of New Jersey and the southern tip of Manhattan from Brooklyn (then called Bay Ridge, Long Island). In the foreground, a horse-drawn carriage moves down a winding road from a Gothic-revival house by the bay. A man picks fruit in the orchard. Castle Garden and Trinity church are barely visible in distant Manhattan with a variety of ships active in New York Bay and the East River. A key in the lower margin identifies places shown in the in the bay and beyond, left to right: Bedlows Island, Communipaw, Gibbet Island, Jersey City, Hoboken, Castle Garden, Governors Island, New York. Hand-colored, the foreground with lush green grass and trees, the waters blue, and with a pink haze, and white clouds against blue sky.

Frances Flora (Fanny) Palmer was a British-born American lithographer and draftswoman. In her capacity as one of Currier & Ives principal artists, "It is likely that during the latter half of the nineteenth century more pictures by Mrs. Fanny Palmer decorated the homes of ordinary Americans than those of any other artist, dead or alive," wrote Ewell L. Newman, a Currier & Ives specialist. Palmer was taught drawing at a girls' school in her native Leicester, England, and later started a lithography business in 1841 with her husband, Edmund S. Palmer; she as the artist and he the printer. They emigrated to New York in 1844. Edmund descended into chronic alcoholism, and Fanny became the family breadwinner. In 1851 she was hired by Currier & Ives, where she produced close to 200 prints for the renowned firm, mainly rural landscapes. Many were of New York and Long Island, while others were pictures of places she had never seen, working from photographs. Her works are in the collections of many American museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the New York Historical Society and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

The lithography firm of Currier & Ives was founded in 1834 by Nathaniel Currier as N. Currier, Lithographer, and based in New York. In 1852, he brought his brother-in-law, James Merritt Ives, into the business and renamed the firm Currier & Ives five years later. They were extremely prolific and highly successful, producing almost 7,500 different separately issued art prints through the 19th century until 1907, aptly advertising themselves as "Print-makers to the American People." Their prints were issued in either small, medium and large folio, though some particularly popular images were issued in more than one size. Dozens of American artists in the mid 19th century painted primarily for lithographic reproduction by Currier & Ives and other firms. To please a broad audience, the firm presented a warmly positive vision of America, frequently sentimental, and sometimes with a touch of humor. Currier & Ives prints generally portrayed the American landscape, scenery and landmarks, including the westward expansion, as well as daily life in both urban and rural settings. Their sporting and maritime subjects were particularly popular. These prints are now highly collectible as records of American history, as fine works of American art, and for their decorative appeal.

Condition: Generally very good, with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. Few short marginal tears, some extending slightly into image, professionally restored.

Reference:

Bonfante-Warren, Alexandra. Currier & Ives: Portraits of a Nation. New York: Friedman/Fairfax, 1998. pp. 9, 23-41.

DeWan, George. "The Picture of a Workhorse." LI History.com. http://www.lihistory.com/histpast/past1006.htm (14 May 2002).

"Frances (Fanny) Flora Palmer (neé Bond)." The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/06/0649/T064931.asp (14 May 2002).


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