Friday, March 25, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Nathaniel Currier of Currier & Ives

Currier and Ives, for me, used to be merely part of some old Christmas song lyrics, back in the UK. I surmised their likely relevance from context, much the same thing used to apply to a few other words, names or expressions purely American in origin.
....As they pass around the coffee
And the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print
By Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring-ting-tingling too
Come on it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you...........

This Arty Farty Friday required a post so, as I noticed in lists of births for late March one Nathaniel Currier, I decided to take a closer look. Yes, this is indeed the "Currier" from those old song lyrics. He wasn't a painter or illustrator himself, but did become a famous print maker.

Nathaniel Currier (March 27, 1813 – November 20, 1888), born in Roxbury, Massachusetts was an American lithographer, who headed the company Currier & Ives with James Ives.


Wikipedia again -
Currier and Ives was a successful American printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824–1895). Based in New York City from 1834 to 1907, the prolific firm produced prints from paintings by fine artists as black and white lithographs that were hand colored. Lithographic prints could be reproduced quickly and purchased inexpensively, and the firm called itself "the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints" and advertised its lithographs as "colored engravings for the people".
In 1850, James Ives came to work for Currier's firm as bookkeeper. Ives' skills as a businessman and marketer contributed significantly to the growth of the company; in 1857 he was made a full partner, and the company became known as Currier & Ives.

The Firm
The firm Currier and Ives described itself as "Publishers of Cheap and Popular Prints". At least 7,500 lithographs were published in the firm's 72 years of operation. Artists produced two to three new images every week for 64 years (1834–1895), producing more than a million prints by hand-colored lithography. For the original drawings, Currier & Ives employed or used the work of many celebrated artists of the day including James E. Buttersworth, Charles R. Parsons, George Inness, Thomas Nast, C.H. Moore, and Eastman Johnson.[9] The stars of the firm were Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, who specialized in sporting scenes; Louis Maurer, who executed genre scenes; George H. Durrie, who supplied winter scenes; and Frances Flora Bond Palmer, who liked to do picturesque panoramas of the American landscape, and who was the first woman in the United States to make her living as a full-time artist. All lithographs were produced on lithographic limestone printing plates on which the drawing was done by hand. A stone often took over a week to prepare for printing. Each print was pulled by hand. Prints were hand-colored by a dozen or more women, often immigrants from Germany with an art background, who worked in assembly-line fashion, one color to a worker, and who were paid $6 for every 100 colored prints. The favored colors were clear and simple, and the drawing was bold and direct another page


Nathaniel Currier born 27 March 1813, Rochester, Mass. Chart set for 12 noon, birth time unknown.

Briefly: Grand Trines thrown up by my software are variations using the similar groups of planets. I see these as key to his professional successes, especially that one linking Venus (art), Jupiter (publication) and Uranus (innovation) into a harmonious circuit - i.e. bringing artworks to a wider swath of the public using modern processes.

Without a time of birth Moon's exact position can't be calculated, but I suspect it would have been somewhere in early Aquarius, as shown in the noon chart above. The flavour of that sign shows through clearly in Currier's aims to provide art accessible to ALL "The People" - very Aquarian!


mike said...

Currier & Ives was everywhere in my youth and into adulthood, and still maintains a popularity among some. I remember the prints mainly as Xmas cards and calendar pages...considered non-offensive and tasteful in the 1950s and 1960s, along with Norman Rockwell, then giving-way to the modern in the 1970s. I vaguely remember Currier & Ives Toiletries that were popular in my youth [ ].

His Wiki page states that lithography was a new technology that Currier apprenticed. Lithography and photography were apparently developing concurrently as new technologies. Neptune rules photography, so I suppose it rules lithography, too, as both are images on paper, one a true image, the other an imagined-mental image of something real.

He has a bucket-funnel chart, focusing his concentrated planets through Jupiter, which is probably the best planet to have in one's chart for the handle-of-the-bucket position. I quickly scanned the internet for juicy details of his personal life to see how his aspects played-out, but minimal information is available...mostly information about the business.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I suppose Neptune could have connection to lithography as it does to photography. I like to think Uranus had a look in too, in both cases - innovation an' all that.

His chart is a good example of bucket/funnel shape. It looks more like a fan to me really - maybe we can call it a fannel. ;-)

mike (again) said...

Off - Bernie was endorsed by a feathered friend:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Awwwwww! So sweet!! An omen, he said! :-)