Louis Kurz was born in Austria in 1834 and came to the United States in 1848. He fought in the Union armies, and was a personal friend of Lincoln. He was also a mural painter, and was one of the founders of Chicago Art Institute.
There is a very poor view of “Camp Randal, Madison, Wis.,” signed by Louis Kurz, Milwaukee, 1864, published by Mosley & Bros., Madison, Wis., small.
“Mr. Lincoln, Residence, and Horse, in Springfield, Ill., as they appeared on his return at the close of the campaign with Senator Douglas. Lith. of L. Kurz, Chicago, 1865,” folio and one of the best Lincoln lithographs from any house; also issued by Shober. It comes in three sizes. See remarks about this print in the Prologue. The Shober print is reproduced here.
There is a very long series of Civil War views, mostly 17.8 x 25, running through the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
Crude and late, but most interesting as a news print of one of the great American disasters is “The Great Conemaugh Valley Disaster. Flood & Fire at Johnston, Pa. Friday, May 31, 1889.
Kurz & Allison Art Publishers, 76 and 78 Wabash Ave., Chicago, U.S.A….1890,” large.
There is a small portrait of Thomas Paine, n.d., imprinted “Kurz, Lane & Co., Milwaukee, Wis.”
It seems to me that this firm had the real news sense and lithographic touch, though I have not seen much of their work. The Lincoln one showing the house, horse, high hat and all, seems to express the very spirit of lithography. Also the Johnstown flood print, for pure, wild, unadulterated American lithography running wild, seems a triumph. Note the lady escaping on the horse in her nightgown, without saddle, yet not deigning to throw her other leg over the horse-that’s the true spirit; the printmakers were always gentlemen at any cost.