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Chromolithography: The Art of Color
Natural History

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Just Caught
After J.F. Herring. "Just Caught." Boston: L. Prang, ca. 1860- 1880's. 7 3/4 x 12 /4. Minor surface abrasions. Otherwise, very good condition. In period frame.

While Prang specialized in using American artists and scenes, he also offered European images that would appeal to a wide American audience. British sporting art was as popular in the nineteenth century as today, and so Prang issued this bright image based on one of the greatest of the British artists of this genre, J.F. Herring. $450



Wild Flowers 1SpacerWild Flowers 2
Ellen Robbins. "Wild Flowers." #1 & #2. Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1870. Pair of chromolithographs. Each ca. 6 x 8. Mounted on board as issued. Very good condition. In original frames and with original labels.

This charming pair of prints were based on paintings by Ellin Robbins (1828-1905), an artist and art teacher from Massachusetts. Robbins was mostly self-taught and she specialized in paintings of flowers and other still lives. Later she advertised in Boston newspapers as "Miss Robbins' Flower and Autumn Leaf Painting Classes." Her work achieved even further recognition when Louis Prang issued a number of chromolithographs based on them, such as this pair of wild flowers. For the pair, $450



Dessert No 4
C. P. Ream. "Dessert. No. 4" Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1872. Chromolithograph. 12 x 10. In original, gilt frame. Very good condition. Denver.

One in a series of still-lifes issued by the Prang lithographic company as "Dining-Room Pictures". Prang's Chromo of 1868 announced, "Our fruit and flower pieces are admirably adapted for the decoration of dining-rooms and parlors. We intend to issue still other pictures of this character; and we venture to predict that the set when complete will be unrivalled either in Europe or America." (Katharine M. McClinton, The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, p. 180). C. P. Ream was one of several artists whom the Prang company called upon to produce paintings appropriate for reproduction by the chromolithographic method, which was best suited to work employing strong colors. These still-lifes, depicting fish, game, flowers, fruits and vegetables, reflected the height of Victorian middle-class taste. Carducius Plantagenet Ream, born in Lancaster, Ohio in 1837, studied art in Europe and returned to become Chicago's most successful, internationally-recognized painter of still lifes. According to Peter Falk in Who Was Who in American Art, "Ream was a master at rendering the color and sensuous texture of fruit by bathing his subjects in soft but dramatic light." This chromo, with its rich and lustrous depiction of peaches in a glass compote surrounded by grapes and other fruits, handsomely framed, is a glorious example of the democratic art of chromolithography. $450



Print by John James Audubon. From The Birds of America. New York: J. Bien, 1860. Chromolithograph. Very good condition, except as noted.

Because of the continued strong demand for the prints, a second edition of Audubon's work was begun in 1860. Published in New York, these prints were lithographs using chromolithography, a relatively new and expensive process at the time. With the disruptions caused by the Civil War, this edition was never completed, and so these prints are even rarer than those of the first edition. As the first totally American Audubon prints, matching those of the first edition in beauty and drama, these are wonderful pieces of American history. The following prints are from this edition.



Prang: AprilSpacerPrang: JulySpacerPrang: SeptemberSpacerPrang: December

Fidelia Bridges. "Twelve Months." Boston: Louis Prang & Co., 1876. 12 Chromolithographs, each measuring 11 3/4 x 9 3/4, hinged to original boards measuring 21 7/8 x 18. Retaining original labels on verso of boards. Some light foxing on some boards. Images clean and bright. Overall, very good condition. Ref: McClinton, 99-101. Denver.

Extraordinary for their rich color and timeless aesthetic, "Twelve Months," a series of chromolithographs after paintings by Miss F. Bridges, beautifully evokes the different seasons of the calendar. Employing the spare, graceful lines of the influential Japonesque style, Bridges created a group of images that retain a timeless attraction. Soft landscapes reflect the variety of terrain found in the rapidly expanding United States at the time of the Centennial. With quality rarely seen at such a small scale, Prang rendered Miss Bridges' paintings with great depth of palette, a skill for which he became justly famous. Though much of his firm's output consisted of inexpensive 'art for the masses,' this set was clearly intended to show off great expertise and skill in the art of color printing. The precise registration and subtle color work on each print testify to the time and effort put into developing the multiple stones needed for such an endeavor. Very scarce, this set survives complete and retaining its original boards and labels. A rare example of exceptional quality and condition. CWL On Approval



Canvas Back
Prints by Alexander Pope, Jr. From Upland Game Birds and Water Fowl of the United States. New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co., 1877-78. Chromolithographs. 14 x 20. Very good condition.

Alexander Pope Jr. was one of a group of important sporting artists who developed an American style of watercolors in the late nineteenth century. Many of these artists, including Pope, issued portfolios of chromolithographs after their watercolors, and these prints are from Pope's series of game birds and water fowl.



Lake Trout
Prints by A.D. Turner. From Forest, Lake and River: The Fishes of New England and Eastern Canada. New York: Frank M. Johnson, 1901. 17 1/2 x 27 3/4. Chromolithographs by Sackett & Wilhelm's Lith. & Ptg. Co. With title labels. Very good condition. Note: reflections in images are from mylar not prints.

Along with Alexander Pope, other artists from the turn of the century were developing an American style of sporting art and many of their images were, like Pope's, being turned into chromolithographed prints. A.D. Turner was one of these artists and the chromolithographs of fish made after his watercolors are among the most impressive of the period.



Petrie Sacramento PikeSpacerPetrie Common Bullhead
J.L. Petrie. From William C. Harris' The Fishes Of North America That Are Captured On Hook And Line. New York, 1895-98. 10 x 18. Chromolithographs. Very good condition.

A excellently and accurately rendered series of prints of North American game fish from William C. Harris' ambitious late nineteenth century folio volume. This work was intended to be of superior quality, and efforts were made to this end to the extent that the costs were so high that only one of the two intended volumes was ever completed. In the first part, the publishers stated "neither labor nor money will be economized in the effort to make the publication unequaled in angling literature." Unfortunately, this care in production was not rewarded with financial success, though the artistic success was considerable.

Harris stated that the volume was intended to give as much information as possible about the native American game fish as well as to provide lifelike portraits of various species. For this purpose a professional artist, J.L. Petrie, accompanied Harris around the country in order to paint the fish in as fresh a state as possible, "before the sheen of their color tints had faded." Harris would catch a fish, lay it out for Petrie, who would immediately paint the subject. These paintings were then painstakingly reproduced by chromolithography, using as many as 15 tints per image in order "to reproduce the exact tone and mellow transfusion of color so frequently seen in many species of fish when alive. So closely has the oil effect been followed that an expert cannot distinguish the painting from its copy at a distance of ten feet." With much justification, Harris states that the prints "are minutely accurate in anatomical detail and in the more difficult matter of coloration."




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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated August 20, 2014