Currier & Ives

The City of New York

Currier & Ives
ca. 1876
Size : 69.5 x 99 cm
Condition : A
Technique : Color lithograph

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Lithographed bird's-eye view of the city of New York, hand-coloured and published by Currier & Ives in the late 1870s after the original painting of Charles R. Parsons (1844-1920) and Lyman W. Awater (1835-1891). 

A fine panoramic bird's-eye view of New York taken from the south, including Manhattan with Castle Garden now known as Castle Clinton at left, New Jersey, the famous "Great East River Suspension Bridge" (or Brooklyn Bridge) before its completion some years later, and part of Brooklyn. The view shows New York city densely built-up and its busy ports, with a huge number of ships and boats in the Bay, a testimony of the great activity in the late 19th century in New York. 

The New York firm of Currier & Ives was a printing company established by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) in 1835. Its expansion led, in 1857, to a partnership with James Merritt Ives (1824-1895). The company operated until 1907, lithographing over 4,000 subjects for distribution in America and Europe. Currier published landscapes, seascapes, natural history, caricatures, portraits, as well as various other subjects. Until the 1880s, the images were printed in black and white, then hand-colored by women working for the company. In the last decades of the 19th century, Currier & Ives began, as here, to print in color. Specializing in high quality lithographs, printed by hand and on colored stone, Curriver & Ives produced a wealth of images of American life, the cities and people of the United States.

This print is a testimony to the tremendous development of Manhattan and Brooklyn during the 1870s.  The captions highlight many more buildings than in the 1856 version of this view, and the city's green spaces are also better defined. At the tip of Manhattan, Battery Park appears neater than its earlier incarnation, and the recently completed Central Park draws attention to the expansion of the uptown areas.

Currier & Ives