Benton, Thomas Hart

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Thomas Hart Benton (1889 - 1975) was born in Missouri into a family of politicians. His namesake and great-uncle, Thomas Hart Benton, was one of the first two United States Senators from Missouri, and a champion of "Manifest Destiny". His own father was a lawyer and U.S. congressman, and Benton spent his childhood shuttling between Washington D.C. and Missouri. As a teenager, Benton developed a keen interest in art and landed a job as a cartoonist for the local newspaper in Joplin, Missouri. He enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, then went on to Paris and, finally back to New York, where he endured for more than a decade as an impoverished painter. During a visit to his ailing father in Missouri in 1924, Benton realized his pride in his Midwestern roots and he began sketching images of raw American life. His pictures of ordinary hard working folks provided the subjects for huge murals and bold paintings of everyday life in mid-America. Unaccepted by the art community in New York for his "regionalist" images, he returned to his Missouri roots in 1935 and was soon commissioned to paint an autobiographical mural in the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Benton worked in his studio in Kansas City for more than 40 years until his death in 1975.

Presented here are limited edition stone lithographs created by Benton between 1929 and 1974. Each print is signed in pencil by Benton himself.

 

Bodmer, Karl

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Swiss born Karl Bodmer (1809 - 1893) studied art in Paris, and at the age of 23 was commissioned by the German Prince, Maximilian, to accompany an expedition across the American West to make illustrations of the journey. During a trip up the Missouri River in 1833, Bodmer sketched Indians and their surroundings. A careful observer, Bodmer created several paintings of Indian subjects and river scenes. He returned to France in 1834 where he finished 81 paintings and many of the reproduction plates to illustrate his journal of the trip. In 1836, his works were exhibited at the Paris Salon. By the time of his death, Bodmer's Indian prints were almost entirely forgotten.

Presented here are hand colored aquatints, published in Koblanz, Germany in 1839.


 

Civil War

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An engraved portrait of Robert E. Lee originally sold to help pay for a memorial in Lee's Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. The inscriptions at the base of the print read: "Sold by authority of the Lee Memorial Association for the erection of a monument at the tomb of Genl. R. E. Lee at the Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Virginia." Facsimile signature of Robert E. Lee and General W. N. Pendleton, Chairman and Charles A. Davidson, Secretary. Engraved by A. B. Walter after a photo from life. William N. Pendleton, acted as Lee's wartime artillery chief and was an Episcopal minister. He became chairman of the Lee Memorial Association, and dedicated himself to preserving General Lee's "sacred memory." This print was sold during an extensive lecture tour in the 1870s.

An engraved portrait of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson originally sold to help pay for a memorial at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. The inscriptions at the base of the print read: "Sold by authority of the Jackson Monument Association for the purpose of executing a monument to the memory of General Thomas J. Jackson at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia." Facsimile signature of T. J. Jackson and Gov. John Fletcher. Engraved by A. B. Walter after a photo from life. This print was sold during an extensive lecture tour in the 1870s.

A rare hand colored lithograph of Gen. Robert E. Lee C.S.A. printed in 1865. He is pictured standing over a map of Virginia with his army assembled in the background. It is signed in the plate in long hand "R E Lee".

The famous print firm of Currier and Ives produced several Civil War images, including the two hand colored lithographs offered here picturing two battles, The Battle of Fair Oaks, VA, and the The Battle of Antietam, MO.

Also offered are several chromolithographs from Uniform of the Army of the United States Illustrated from 1774 to 1889 circa 1890 by M. Ludington and US Army Uniforms by the Werner Co., circa 1899


 

Currier & Ives

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The firms "N. Currier" and "Currier & Ives" issued more than 7,700 different print titles during their history. The dramatic images captured the essence of a fledgling United States, depicting all aspects of 19th century America. They were affordable art for all, and immensely popular. Numerous reprints, copies and forgeries have been produced since the Currier & Ives firm closed in 1907, making their lithographs some of the most reproduced images in history.

 

McKenney & Hall

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As superintendent of the Indian Trade Bureau and head of the U.S. War Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1820's, Colonel Thomas Loraine McKenney spent a great deal of time and money researching the life and culture of the American Indian. He established an Indian Portrait Gallery by selecting portrait painter Charles Bird King to illustrate the chiefs and principle Indians visiting Washington and the Great White Father (U.S. President). After teaming with Philadelphia writer James Hall, McKenney captured the history and tragic plight of the native inhabitants in his famous portfolio, History of the Indian Tribes of North America. The McKenney & Hall lithographs are the only surviving images of these Native Americans after an 1865 fire at the Smithsonian Institution destroyed all of the original paintings.

 

Wood, Grant

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Grant Wood was born on February 13, 1891 on his parents' farm near Anamosa, Iowa. Here, he spent the first 10 years of his life, until the death of his father, which forced his little family off the farm and into a more urban area in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A natural artist, Wood won third prize in a national contest for a crayon drawing of oak leaves at the age of 14 and later said that winning that prize was his inspiration to become an artist. He attended two summers at the School of Design and Handicraft in Minneapolis and three years of occasional night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. In October 1920, he set out for Europe to continue his art education. In 1923 Wood visited Europe for a second time and studied at the Academie Julien in Paris. It was here that he experimented with Impressionism and Post-Impressionism painting. In 1927, Wood was commissioned by the city of Cedar Rapids to design a large stained glass window for the Veterans Memorial Building. The window took two years to complete, including time spent supervising the fabrication of the glass in Munich, where he was able to study the 15th century Northern Gothic painting at the Alte Pinakothek Museum, and found inspiration in the precise clarity of paintings by Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Albrecht Durer, and Hans Holbein. Wood liked to depict scenes of everyday Midwestern life in a sometimes stark gothic manner. His best-known work, American Gothic (1930), caused controversy when it was interpreted as a broad, insensitive caricature. In the decades since, however, the work has become one of the most enduring images in American art. Grant Wood died in 1942, near his 51st birthday.

Presented here are limited edition stone lithographs created by Wood before 1942.

 

Miscellaneous

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On January 8, 1815, militias led by “Old Hickory”, Andrew Jackson, defeated British forces at the Battle of New Orleans. The American victory prevented Britain from taking control of the lower Mississippi Valley and made Jackson a national hero. This quite rare, hand colored lithograph was created from a daguerreotype taken before his death in 1845.

Click here to see Americana prints from our Gallery Editions

 


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