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Sale 2496 Lot 342
CURRIER & IVES. Across the Continent. Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way. Large-folio hand-colored lithograph heightened with gum arabic. 20 1/2x29 inches sheet size; very fine original hand-color; sheet lightly toned with minor staining in lower margin, gum arabic aged and crackled in places, lower margin trimmed close to subtitle with the Currier & Ives imprint excised. New York, 1868
Estimate $7,000 - 10,000
A very attractive unrestored example of one of the best known collaborations between Fanny Palmer and Currier & Ives. This scene is demonstrative of the changing landscape of the mid-nineteenth century American frontier upon the completion of the Transcontinental Railroads. A small village of log buildings replete with a church and school abuts the wilderness and mountains as the railroad runs out of town parallel to a well-worn wagon trail. The industriousness of the pioneers is palpable as they toil to build their community while some break to celebrate the crowded train rolling through. In contrast to this burgeoning sense of optimism, Palmer doesn't fail to include a subtle, sad, political message: as the locomotive pulls away, its billowing smoke trails behind shrouding and clouding the view of two Native tribesmen toward a herd of running buffalo on the pristine prairie beyond.
The present example bears significant association and provenance: it was a gift to renowned Americana collector Thomas Winthrop Streeter from his four children on his 80th birthday in 1963. Following his death two years later, the print has remained with his youngest son, Thomas W. Streeter, Jr.