Currier & Ives

Currier & Ives was one of America’s most prolific and successful printmaking firms.  Headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895), it was based in New York City. Currier & Ives chiefly produced black-and-white lithographs that were hand-colored. Lithographic prints could be reproduced quickly and purchased inexpensively, and the company called itself “the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints.”

“Currier & Ives” was the name used by the firm from 1857 until 1907, but the business had its beginnings in two predecessor firms involving Nathaniel Currier: Stodart & Currier (1834) and N. Currier (1835 to 1856). Currier was a printmaker and businessman; James Ives started as the firm’s bookkeeper in 1852 and five years later became Currier’s partner. Neither was an artist, so although Currier & Ives prints were published by the partners, they were drawn and lithographed by others. Artists that worked for the company included John Cameron, Louis Maurer, Otto Knirsch, Fanny Palmer, Charles Parsons, and Napoleon Sarony. Additionally, paintings by George H. Durrie and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait were made into Currier & Ives prints.

Nathaniel Currier retired in 1880 and died in 1888 and James Ives died in 1895. The firm, under the direction of their sons Edward West Currier and Chauncey Ives, carried on until 1907. Though the name of the firm changed over time, all prints produced by this firm, even before 1857, are often referred to as “Currier & Ives prints.”  

Timeline

1834-35Stodart & Currier137 Broadway
1835Nathaniel Currier1 Wall Street
1836-37Nathaniel Currier148 Nassau Street
1838-56Nathaniel Currier152 Nassau and 2 Spruce Street
1857-65Currier & Ives152 Nassau Street and 2 Spruce Street
1866-72Currier & Ives152 Nassau and 33 Spruce Street
1872-74Currier & Ives125 Nassau Street and 33 Spruce Street
1874-77Currier & Ives123 Nassau Street and 33 Spruce
1877-94Currier & Ives115 Nassau Street and 33 Spruce Street
1894-96Currier & Ives108 Fulton and 33 Spruce Street
1896-1907Currier & Ives33 Spruce Street

 

Additional Resources

Currier & Ives Frequently Asked Questions

AHPCS gets more questions about Currier & Ives items than any other type of print. Our FAQ page is a great place to find answers to your questions.

Currier & Ives Previously Unrecorded Prints List

AHPCS maintains a list of prints not included in the standard Currier & Ives print reference guides.


Image credits

Workers standing in front of the Currier & Ives building in New York [Photograph, between 1877-1894], Harriet Endicott Waite research material relating to Currier & Ives, 1923-1956. Courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

F. Palmer (artist), Currier & Ives (publisher), The Riverroad [Lithograph, undated]. Courtesy of a private collection.

Louis Maurer (artist), Currier & Ives (publisher), The American Fireman. Always Ready [Lithograph, 1858]. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

F. Palmer (artist), Currier & Ives (publisher), Across the Continent. “Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way” [Lithograph, 1864]. Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery.

Louis Maurer after J. H. Wright, Currier & Ives (publisher), Rysdyk’s Hambletonian [Lithograph, 1876]. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

N. Currier, Little Kate [Lithograph, circa 1851]. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Currier & Ives after George Durrie, Winter in the Country: A Cold Morning [Lithograph, 1864]. Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery.