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Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co.

Ehrgott & Forbriger

[ Prints for sale | Portfolio for sale | Brief history of the firm | Complete reference list of prints ]


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From the 1820s to 1840s, lithographic print publishers became well established in most large eastern cities in the United States, but the growing populations and economies of cities further west soon created enough of a market for new lithographic firms to be started west of the Appalachians. Cincinnati was one of the first western cities to develop its own thriving lithographic industry and one of its most important firms was that founded by Peter E. Ehrgott and Adolphus F.Forbriger in 1856. Ehrgott and Forbriger ran one of the most ambitious and creative lithographic firms in the mid-west, for instance introducing the first steam press west of New York City in 1868. Their output was typical of American lithographic firms, though they tended to specialize in historic prints during the Civil War.

Civil War portraits

McClernandSpacerFarragut
A series of uncolored lithographs of Civil War politicians and officers. Cincinnati: Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., ca. 1862. Folio, ca. 12 1/2 x 9 1/2. Lithographs by Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. Very good condition.

Perhaps in late 1861, but certainly by mid-1862, Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. began to issue a series of portraits of Civil War figures: politicians as well as military and naval officers. These prints, which the firm continued to issue at least as late as 1864, were in many ways similar to the portraits issued by other firms such as Currier & Ives, however these Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. are quite unlike the prints by other publishers in one salient feature.

FranklinFremont As discussed in Milt Kaplan's "Heads of States," (Winterthur Portfolio 6. Charlottesville, 1970 Pp. 135-150.) prints of different figures share the same, or very similar backgrounds, with the identical horses, landscapes, troops, ships, desks, and so forth. [Cf. illustrations of Gens. Franklin (left) and Fremont (right)] While some of the backgrounds the firm used appear only in one print, others are shared by between three and five figures, and one has as many as seven different generals sharing it. Overall, the firm issued seventy-nine different prints of sixty-nine different Union politicians and officers. The Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. prints were issued separately for those in the mid-west who wanted to have these images of Union heroes and they have also been found in bound portfolios. However they are found, they are very rare and a fascinating part of Civil War history. For further information, see Mark E. Neely Jr. & Harold Holzer's The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North. (Chapel Hill, 2000.)


Politicians

Military

Benj. Butler

Naval



Other Prints

RR map
"Map of the Cincinnati & Nashville Railroad and its connections with other roads & portions of roads. Compiled from the best authorities." Issued in J.D.B. DeBow's Review, Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial Progress and Resources. New Orleans, 1866. 13 x 14 1/4. Lithograph by Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. Very good condition.

An interesting map issued to show the importance of completing the railroad between Cincinnati and Nashville. By the end of the Civil War an extensive network of railroads criss-crossed the North, with a less extensive but still reasonable network in the South. The need for connections between the lines of these two regions was obvious and thus the importance of a link from Cincinnati to Nashville. The map indicates that track existed from Cincinnati south to Danville, with the proposed route shown for the final link to Nashville. $250



Ehrgott & Forbriger portfolio:

Camp, Gauley Bridge
[Album of the Campaign of 1861 in Western Virginia.] Drawn and lithographed by J.N. Roesler. Cincinnati, 1862. Portfolio of 20 lithographs by Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co.. Small folio on sheets 13 x 17. Four of the prints with foxing and some tears and wear in the margins. Other prints generally very good though with some stains and foxing. With original boards but detached and with corner broken off one.

A very rare portfolio of wonderful, lithographed scenes of the 47th Ohio during their campaign in West Virginia are based on drawings by J. Nep Roesler, a Corporal of the color guard in the 47th. This set of twenty images was entitled Album of the Campaign of 1861 in Western Virginia. The images concern General William S. Rosecrans' Kanawha Valley campaign of late 1861 which was important in maintaining Western Virginia for the union. Unusual for the time, only one image in the series shows a battle scene. While most subsequent Civil War images focused on the battles and military might of the Union, these charming prints include otherwise rarely seen images of camp life, picket duty, marching, crossing rivers, etc.. The prints are also wonderful in their portrayal of the mountainous terrain of Western Virginia and the sometimes wild weather faced by the troops. As stated by Neely & Holzer, "Roesler's ability to escape patriotic convention, as well as his real skills as a landscape artist, gave his portfolio a special place among popular prints of the Civil War." (p. 67) These rare prints are fascinating and unusual documents of Civil War history.

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The portfolio for $4,600




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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated April 23, 2014