The “Legacy of Currier & Ives: Shaping the American Spirit” exhibit pays tribute to the popular nineteenth-century printmakers and their role in establishing a form of mass media that was inexpensive and eagerly sought by ordinary people. The exhibition features sixty-four hand-colored lithographs, which include a stunning array of visual references to an exciting period in national development.
From 1834 to 1907, Currier and Ives gave testimony to national art trends, history, and progress through popular prints that hung in homes across America. Several images featured the designs of prominent artists such as Eastman Johnson, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, and George Durrie. The exhibition introduces visitors to the firm of Currier & Ives and shows, through interpretive and educational materials, how their imagery became ingrained in the national consciousness. In the seventy-two years that Currier & Ives were in business (1834–1907), they produced more than 8,000 lithographs.
The exhibition is organized around four themes:
An illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition and is available in the museum shop.
The D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA, organized and curated the exhibition with prints from their collection.