A picturesque American rural winter scene of numerous couples and individuals ice skating on a natural frozen pond or lake surrounded by a pine forest by the light of a full moon. The trees and some fallen branches in the foreground are coated with snow. This print ranked number 19 out of 50 on The New Best 50, a list of the best small folio Currier & Ives prints selected by the American Historical Print Collectors Society in June 1990. The top-ranked prints were chosen from among hundreds produced by Currier & Ives by a national panel consisting of 30 collectors, dealers and institutions.
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 small, medium and/or large folio. Numerous 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 often presented a warmly positive sentimental or patriotic vision of America, though sometimes their depictions were humorous or even satirical. Many of their prints portrayed the American landscape, scenery and landmarks, including the westward expansion, as well as daily life in both urban and rural settings. The firm also produced prints of historical events -- including some tragedies such as fires and ships lost at sea. Their sporting and maritime subjects were also popular, as were depictions of cats and dogs. Currier & Ives prints are now highly collectible as records of American history, as fine collectible works of American art, and for their decorative appeal.
Full publication information: "Published by Currier & Ives. Entered according to Act of Congress AD. 1868, by Currier & Ives, in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York. 152 Nassau St. New York."
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, including restoration of short tear lower left margin.
Bonfante-Warren, Alexandra. Currier & Ives: Portraits of a Nation. New York: Friedman/Fairfax, 1998. pp. 9, 23-41, 57, 94.
Conningham, Frederic A. Currier and Ives Prints: An Illustrated Check List. New York: Crown, 1949. 5546.
"Currier and Ives Original Prints." George Cohenour. 1998-2009. http://www.currierprints.com/NewBest50.htm (5 December 2016).