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The Philadelphia Print Shop

Prints of Philadelphia

Views of Philadelphia have appeared in print ever since the eighteenth century,
and they present a fascinating graphic account of the history of the city.

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Appletons Journal Fairmount
Harry Fenn. "Art Supplement to Appletons' Journal.--Fairmount, Philadelphia. With view of New Park, From Columbia Bridge." New York: Appletons' Journal, September 25, 1869. 8 1/2 x 28. Wood engraving. With folds as issued. Very good condition.

Harry Fenn, known particularly for his excellent work in Picturesque America, was one of the best view illustrators of the nineteenth century. This fold-out "art supplement" to Appletons' Journal is a fine example of his work. It presents a bustling view of Philadelphia from the Girard Ave. bridge, showing the Schuylkill from that point south as far as the waterworks. Girard College is seen off to the left, and the waterworks, the suspension bridge and the Schuylkill Canal appear in the middle distance. Beautifully colored, this interesting and attractive picture presents us with a privileged look at the Schuylkill waterway of over a century ago. $525

Hill-Smith: Philadelphia ca. 1870
John Rubens Smith. "Philadelphia." From John H. Hinton's The History and Topography of the United States of North America. Second American Edition. Boston: 1843. 5 1/4 x 8. Steel engraving by J. Archer. Second state. Excellent condition.

John Rubens Smith, an English immigrant, was one of the more important American artists of the early nineteenth century, known for his drawings, engravings, and teaching. Smith was from an artistic family which included his father, John Raphael Smith, artist and mezzotint engraver and publisher, who provided his earliest education. Much of John Rubens Smith's best work is of American cities and landscape, from South Carolina to New England. This interesting view of Philadelphia, where Smith resided for a time, is one of the better views of the city waterfront, showing the skyline and shipping activity from Kensington. From its initial publication about 1834, through it various manifestations towards mid-century, this was one of the most popular views of Philadelphia. This is a fine example of the second state, engraved by J. Archer. $125

Trotting Cracks in Philadelphia
"Trotting Cracks of Philadelphia Returning from the Race at Point Breeze Park, having a brush past Turner's Hotel, Rope Ferry Road, Philadelphia, 1870." Philadelphia: H. Pharazyn, 1870. 16 1/2 x 27 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Marginal tears and some chips; one tear and small hole in title area. All expertly conserved. Overall, very good condition and appearance. America On Stone: p. 325.

A rare and delightful print "respectfully dedicated to the Lovers of Horses and the Sporting Public in general." It shows a 17 "lovers of horses" driving their trotting cracks past Turner's Hotel in south Philadelphia. Turner's Hotel was owned by John C. Turner, a professional trotter driver and sportsman. It was located on Rope Ferry Road and the trotting cracks were passing by after having been at a race at Point Breeze Park. The hotel had a large barn for horses and carriages, shown in the background, and its patrons, shown watching the trotters, obviously shared Turner's enthusiasm for horses and trotting cracks. It is interesting that the artist is not given, but each of the horses is identified. As Peters says, "Those were the days when horses were far more important than artists. $2,800

Harper's Weekly Centennial Fair
Theodore R. Davis. "Bird's-Eye View of Philadelphia." New York: Harper's Weekly, June 15, 1872. 19 1/2 x 29 5/8. Wood engraving. A few expertly repaired tears. Else, very good condition. Prints of Philadelphia: 209.

During the Civil War, illustrated newspapers, like Harper's Weekly, provided the public with current and accurate pictures of the war. These newspapers continued to document the events, scenes, and personages of the following years. Most of the prints that appeared in the papers were taken from on-the-spot drawing made by staff illustrators. This dramatic bird's eye view was drawn by Theodore R. Davis and issued as a supplement for Harper's Weekly. It shows Philadelphia extending from the Delaware River in the foreground to the Schuylkill and beyond in the distance. Streets and buildings are accurately depicted, and major sites are carefully illustrated and named. Among the details shown are the Chestnut Street bridge, built in 1866, and the newly extended Fairmount Park. A concert-going crowd outside the Academy of Music is rendered with very fine engraving. This print provides an excellent view of the city, one that was distributed to a wide public. $650

Schuylkill River
Photochrom Views from Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Supplements.

Photochrom prints are colorized images produced from black-and-white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. Bamber Gascoigne calls photochrom "a very successful form of colour photolithography developed in the late nineteenth century by the Swiss firm of Orell Füssli and used mainly for topographical views," noting that "photochroms have almost the appearance of colour photographs, but through a glass will show a delicate ink pattern which was achieved by a combination of photographic and manual work on grained stones," and pointing out that it is "not to be confused with 'photochrome,' which was a general term at the period for any coloured photograph." (How to Identify Prints pp. 205/206.)

Born in Prussia in 1849, Jacob Ottmann immigrated to New York in the 1860s, becoming a partner in the lithography firm of Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann in 1874. By 1879 the firm was at the same address as their most renowned client, Puck, the first American weekly magazine to offer full color lithography. In addition to printing the cartoons of Puck, the firm attracted a wide variety of other commercial clients. Indeed, according to Jay T. Last, by the mid-1880s it had become one of the largest American lithographic firms, doing a wide variety of work, including advertising posters, pamphlets and reproductions of oil and watercolor paintings. (The Color Explosion pp. 112/113.) When Mayer and Merkel retired in 1885, the firm was renamed J. Ottmann Lithographing Company, which joined with the publishers of Puck in 1886 to erect the Puck Building, today a New York City historic landmark. Four years later, at the age of 41, Ottmann died. The J. Ottmann Lithographing Company continued in business until the first decade of the 20th century, after which it was merged into the United States Printing & Lithographing Company.

An advertisement in the Sunday, December 16, 1894 Inquirer said in part: "The J. Ottmann Company make a special feature of fine art reproductions for magazine and newspaper use and will gladly furnish specimens of their work on application." The advertisement also noted that the colored supplement with that issue was supplied by Ottmann. Although the Inquirer views we have seen have no signatures, some sources attribute Ottmann's Inquirer series of photochrom views to an otherwise unidentified artist "Le Roy."

City Hall
After photograph by Frederick F. Gutekunst, Jr. "City Hall, Philadelphia." Philadelphia: F. Gutekunst, ca. 1899. Phototype. Ca. 18 x 20. Very good condition.

A superb "phototype" print produced by famous Philadelphia photographer, Frederick F. Gutekunst, Jr. (1831-1917). Gutekunst, born in Germantown, was an early daguerreian, opening a gallery and studio in 1856 with his brother Lewis, and working as a photographer from then until the early twentieth century. He developed a process, which he called "phototyping," of creating a printing matrix from his photographs. This is fine example of his output, issued probably shortly before the William Penn statue was added to the tower of City Hall (November 1894), as the statue appears to be drawn, rather than taken from a photograph. A rare and wonderful image of City Hall. $1,200

Jamison: Shoemaker Mansion
L.H. Jamison. "Shoemaker Mansion." 1903. Photo engraving. 11 1/2 x 18 5/8 (image). Small chip in upper left and short crease top center. Otherwise very good condition.

Believed to have been erected by Isaac Schumacher [Shoemaker] (born 1669 in Germany, immigrated 1686, died 1732 in Germantown) and demolished c. 1840, this Germantown Avenue house stood at the northeast corner of Penn Street (formerly known as Shoemaker's Lane), currently 5301-5303 Germantown Avenue. The land on which the house stood was part of the German Township's "Lot Number 8 Towards Bristol," originally granted in 1689 to Gerhard Heinrichs [Hendricks] whose daughter Sarah married Isaac in 1693.

Notable Shoemaker descendants who owned the house were Isaac's son Benjamin (1704-1767) and his son Samuel (1725-1800), each of whom served as Philadelphia Mayor, City Treasurer and member of the Provincial Council, among other offices. (Keyser, et. al, History of Old Germantown [1907], Hotchkin, Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill [1889].)

Interestingly, the main entrance to the house was in the rear. The street entrance as shown was directly into the cellar, thus making the house appear a full story taller than it actually was.

Nothing is known of Jamison, other than that the historic house museum "Stenton" possesses a small, framed 1899 sketch of the Stenton landscape by the artist. $600

Market Street Sheds
Original drawing by Frank H. Taylor. Pen and ink with gauche wash. 14 1/2 x 20 1/2 (paper size). Signed in ink.

Frank Hamilton Taylor (1846-1927), a native of Rochester, New York, served briefly in the Civil War and afterwards relocated to Philadelphia. There he worked for a lithographic firm and then established his own business in the 1870s. He also became a "special artist," sketching for publications such as the Daily Graphic and Harper's Weekly. He turned to writing articles as well as illustrating them, later publishing books on topics such as the Civil War (Philadelphia in the Civil War, 1860-1865), Valley Forge Park, the Alan Wood Steel Company, Ocean City, N. J., and the Port of Philadelphia. Aware of the importance of historical documentation, Taylor documented the appearance of Philadelphia in the past, publishing many of his illustrations in Ever-Changing Philadelphia. These watercolors are fine examples of his work.

Exilious Pennsylvania Hospital
John G. Exilious. "South East View of Pennsylvania Hospital." Philadelphia, 1814. Restrike ca. 1920s? 11 5/8 x 18 1/4. Engraving by Exilius. Printer C.P. Harrison. Full margins. Mounted on board, otherwise excellent condition. Ref: Phillips, Maps and Views of Philadelphia: 274; Drepperd, Early American Prints, p.94; Thomas G. Morton, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1895), pp. 328-30.

A rare, and finely executed engraving of Pennsylvania Hospital by local landscape painter John G. Exilius, who worked in Philadelphia from 1810 to 1814. In 1810, he was one of the founders of the Society of Artists. This view of Pennsylvania Hospital is his largest and finest engraving. It shows the hospital from the south east, with the entire building nicely illustrated behind its brick wall. In the foreground Exilius has included an interesting street scene, with a sick man being carried into the hospital by three men. Below the image is a remarque vignette of the Good Samaritan, under which is the caption, "Take care of him and I will repay thee." Exilius had previously been a patient at the hospital, and he seems to have produced this print as a financial venture. The cost of the project was $250, and 80 impressions were originally made.

The plate exists today at the Pennsylvania Hospital, and restrikes have been struck from it over the decades. Judging from the paper used, the strength of the impression, and the age of this one, it was struck in the early twentieth century. The 1920s is the most appropriate time for this kind of activity to have taken place since prints and reproductions were very popular in the decade between World War I and the Great Depression. $675

McIntire: NW Corner Broad & Chestnut 1850
H. B. McIntire. "N.W. Corner Broad and Chestnut Sts. 1850." 1935. 8 1/4 x 6 7/8 (sight). Aquatone process. Signed and dated in image by artist. With original labels describing the buildings and their history. Framed. Very good condition.

Henry B. McIntire (1872-1963) was an architectural illustrator flourishing in Philadelphia from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was active in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and prepared checklists of the historical prints in the collection (published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography in 1942) as well as a listing of holdings of the drawings and watercolors of David J. Kennedy. He published in a lithographic process that he called "aquatone" to produce new prints of historical subjects that resembled old lithographs. They are soft and lovely with an attention to historical detail. $650

Falter: Chestnut Hill Station 1890
John Falter. "Chestnut Hill Station - 1890." [1975]. 12 1/4 x 16 (image). Color screen print. Very good condition.

John Falter (1910-1982) was an American illustrator and painted pictures, which have been compared to Norman Rockwell's works. Rockwell even considered him "America's most gifted illustrator." Falter was born in Nebraska and after high school studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York. During World War II, he designed more than three hundred war posters. However, Falter is mainly known for his one hundred and eighty five magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post, which he produced from 1942 to 1969. Falter also executed work for other publications such as Ladies Home Journal, McCall's, Life and Look as well as advertising illustrations for several companies. Towards the end of his life, Falter resided in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. He was elected to the Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1976 and was a member of the National Academy of Western Art. After his death in 1982, there was an exhibit done in Falter's honor at the Nebraska State Museum of History in 1983, which included a recreation of his studio and an exhibit featuring many of his work. A number of Falter's paintings can be found at the Nebraska State Historical Society. $275 unframed or $400 framed

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