Chopin was born in Poland and was a child prodigy. He completed his studies at the Warsaw Conservatory in 1829, and made his Vienna debut the same year. He arrived in Paris in 1831, where he found patronage and became part of a vibrant community of musicians; he was based there for the rest of his life. His piano music was widely admired and influential in his own era, praised by major composers such as Schumann and Liszt, and remains popular to the present day.
Kurz & Allison was a Chicago lithography firm. Louis Kurz (1833-1921) was born in Austria and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1848; they moved to Chicago in 1852. Kurz began his artistic career as a scene painter and lithographer in Milwaukee during the 1850s. He served in the Union Army during the early years of the Civil War, then returned to Chicago in 1863 and founded the Chicago Lithographic Company. Kurz’s notable early publications include a series of views for Jevne and Almini’s Chicago Illustrated (1866). Said to be a friend of Abraham Lincoln, he also published a popular lithograph in 1865 of Mr. Lincoln, Residence, and Horse that scholar Harry T. Peters called “one of the best Lincoln lithographs from any house.” He was among the founders of the Art Institute of Chicago.
When his firm was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Kurz returned to Milwaukee to run the American Oleograph Company until 1878. Back in Chicago, he co-founded Kurz & Allison, which he operated with Alexander Allison from 1880 to at least 1899. As Kurz & Allison, they produced chromolithographs including a large series of Civil War battle scenes. Among the more popular prints produced by the firm were one of the Battle of Gettysburg, a series of portraits of presidents with their families, and dramatic renditions of contemporary events such as the Johnstown Flood of 1889 and the Spanish-American War.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning, wear, handling, soft creases. Professionally restored and deacidified; few minor chips and short marginal tears restored as backed on Japanese tissue (can be matted out).
“Frédéric Chopin.” Wikipedia. 18 June 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frédéric_Chopin (24 June 2011).
Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. pp. 378-379.
“Kurz and Allison.” Wikipedia. 23 December 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurz_and_Allison (24 June 2011).
Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 259-260.