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Life on the Mississippi

DATES October 05, 1945 through January 13, 1946
  • October 5, 1945 An exhibition of prints entitled “Life on the Mississippi” opens in the Print Galleries of the Brooklyn Museum on October 5 and is current through December 10. Composed mainly of American lithographs issued from 1840 through the 1870’s, it forms a colorful and graphic record of expansion westward into the heart of America. Much of the flavor, the zest and the rugged life of the “new country” is caught and held in panoramic review through the prints issued by Currier and Ives and other lithographic houses and through the writings of Mark Twain. Some sixty-five prints, the majority of which belong to the Preston Player Collection of Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois, supplemented by others from the New York Historical Society, the Old Print Shop and Kennedy and Company, are being shown.

    As explorers, travellers, pioneers and settlers, the English, French, Spanish and Indian met on the broad stretches of the Mississippi. Life along its shores was romantically portrayed by Currier and Ives who surpassed all their competitors in covering the important news events of the period. Plantations, roustabouts loading cotton, famous steamboat races, moonlight rides, high tide and low tide, all the turbulent life of the “new frontier” were carefully sketched by their artists, among whom was the ambitious and skillful Fanny Palmer.

    The exhibition also contains a sizable group of prints of famous steamboat races. In 1838 the Post Office Department offered a prize of five hundred dollars to the boat which could make the trip from New Orleans up to St. Louis in less than six days. The prize was won by “The Diana” who made the trip in a scant forty-five minutes under six days. However, racing as a sport was of special interest to every pilot and boat owner, and the winner of the gilded buck horns or record holder’s trophy was held in high esteem. Prints showing the “Natchez”, the “Robert E. Lee”, the “Diana”, the “A.L. Shotwell” and many other famous steamboats are among this group.

    Reflecting the life of the rich Mississippi Valley of some seventy-five years ago, the lithographs and engravings shown in this exhibition retain much of the romance, the flavor and the sturdy pioneering spirit of America in the mid-nineteenth century.

    A partial listing of the prints follows:

    The City of St. Louis. 1874. Sketched and drawn on stone by Parsons and Atwater. Currier and Ives.

    High Water in the Mississippi. 1868. F. E. Palmer. Currier and Ives.

    Low Water in the Mississippi. 1868. F. E. Palmer. Currier and Ives.

    “Rounding a Bend” on the Mississippi River. The Parting Salute. 1866. F. E. Palmer, del. Currier and Ives.

    The Levee -- New Orleans. 1883. Painted by W. A. Walker. Currier and Ives.

    High Pressure Steamboat “Mayflower”. First Class Packet between St. Louis and New Orleans on the Mississippi River. 1855. Ch. Parsons, del. Currier and Ives.

    Bombardment of Island “Number Ten” in the Mississippi River. 1862. Currier and Ives.

    The Great Mississippi River Steamboat Race from New Orleans to St. Louis, July 1870, between the “Robert E. Lee” and “Natchez”. 1870. Currier and Ives.

    Midnight Race on the Mississippi. 1875. The “Memphis” and the “James Howard”. Currier and Ives.

    A Race on the Mississippi. 1870. The “Diana” and the “Eagle”. Currier and Ives.

    Bound down the River. 1870. Currier and Ives.

    Moonlight on the Mississippi. n.d. Currier and Ives.

    The Great Mississippi River Steamboat Race from New Orleans to St. Louis, July 1870, between the “Robert E. Lee” and “Natchez”. n.d., Currier and Ives,

    On the Mississippi. 1869. The “Mayflower”. Currier and Ives.

    City of New Orleans. n.d. Currier and Ives.

    The Discovery of the Mississippi by Ferdinand De Soto and his Followers, May 1541. Currier and Ives.

    Midnight Race on the Mississippi. Publ. and Print. by Th. Kelly.

    Steamer “Robert E. Lee”. Published by Stetson and Armstrong, New Orleans. Lith. by Hatch & Co. 1870 or later.

    Battle of New Orleans, by Johan Landis. Copyrighted 1840 by John Landis.

    Nouvelle-Orleans. Vue prise d’Algiers. Dessine d’apres nat. par Th. Muller. Lith. par Th. Muller.

    A Correct View of the Battle Near the City of New Orleans, on the Eighth of January 1815. By Francisco Scacki. engraving.

    North East View of St. Louis, from the Illinois Shore. Published by George Wooll.

    Battle of New Orleans. P.S. Duvall, Litho. Drawn on Stone by A. Hoffy, 1840.

    The Balise. Mississippi River. E. Van Blon. I. Hill Sc.

    Musical Score “Belle of Alton”. Copyrighted, 1868. Engraved by Gast. Moeller & Co.

    Musical Score “Bayard Waltz”. Copyrighted, 1870. A. M. McLean, Lith.

    The Mississippi Flotilla dispersing the Rebel Gun Boats. 1864. Currier and Ives.

    Destruction of the Rebel Ram “Arkansas”, by the United States Gunboat “Essex”, on the Mississippi River, near Baton Rouge, August 4th, 1862. Currier and Ives.

    The Splendid Naval Triumph on the Mississippi, April 24th, 1862. Currier and Ives.

    Municipal Hall, Lafayette Square, New Orleans. T.K. Wharton, Delt F. Bedford, Litho. London. Printed by Standidge & Co. 1848.

    Battle of New Orleans and Defeat of the British under the Command of Sir Edward Packenham, By Genl. Andrew Jackson, 8th Jan. 1815. Published by Wm. H. Morgan. Drawn by S. Seymour. Engraved by J. W. Steel.

    Nouvelle Orleans. Garnerai pinx. Himely sculp. A Paris chez Hocquart Succ’r de Mr. Basset.

    Battle of New Orleans and Death of Major General Packenham on the 8th of January 1815. West. Del. J. Yeager Sc. Printed by Y. Sauerman. Published by McCarty and Davis, 1817.

    Prospective View of the City of Cairo, at the Junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi River, Illinois. Wm. Strickland, Arch’t del. P.S. Duval, Lithogr., Phila. Drawn on Stone by A. Hoffy.

    Illustrations from “Das Illustrirte Mississippi-Thal” by Henry Lewis. Dusseldorf, 1854-57.

    Illustrations from “The Valley of the Mississippi” by J. C. Wild, St. Louis, 1841.

    Steamboat Race on the Mississippi. Lithograph by George Fuller.

    Bateau a Vapeur Americain. Lithograph by St. Aulire.

    Match at the Mississippi. Lithograph by Sala and Company.

    On the Mississippi. Lithograph by Currier and Ives.

    Bateau a Vapeur Americain. Mouille. Lithograph by St. Aulire.

    Midnight Race on the Mississippi. Lithograph by Haskell and Allen.

    The Jolly Flat Boat Men. Engraving by Doney after Bingham. 1847.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1942 - 1946. 10-12/1945, 062-4.
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  • August 29, 1944 AMERICAN PEWTER
    Exhibition date extended through November 4, 1945
    Outstanding examples selected from the John W. Poole Collection recently purchased by the Museum, and additional pieces received as gifts from other sources. This exhibition, based on design and form, emphasizes the intrinsic beauty of early American pewter and illustrates its extensive use in the everyday life of America during the 18th and 19th centuries.

    October 5 - December 10, 1945
    An exhibition of about 60 lithographs and engravings depicting the days of the flatboats, steamboats, riverpilots, and midnight races, plantations and luxury “showboats” of the Mississippi before and after the Civil War. The greater portion of the lithographs were issued by Currier and Ives and other American lithographic houses which flourished in the 19th century. The majority of the prints have been lent through the courtesy of Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois.

    November 2 - November 25, 1945
    An exhibition of 61 paintings and sculptures, which originated at the Albany Institute of History and Art, and is now being circulated by The American Federation of Arts. A group of portraits of distinguished Negro citizens will be shown with this exhibition.

    November 8, 1945--January 1, 1946
    European and American landscape painting, with loans from many museums and private collections (about 70 canvases), showing the development of both the philosophical and visual points of view towards landscape from the early fourteenth century to the present. There will be a detailed and illustrated catalogue. In connection with this large exhibition, the Museum is planning two smaller shows which will be on view at the same time: landscape water colors from the Museum collection and a group of unusual landscape photographs.

    From the Museum’s Print Collection
    December 14--January 6, 1946
    A special Christmas exhibition of Children’s Portraits by 19th and 20th century artists, from the Museum’s Print Collection.

    December 20 - closing date indefinite
    An exhibition of rare examples from the Museum’s famous Pre-Columbian collection of gold, silver and jade, representing Central and South America, especially Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Peru. A few items will be borrowed from private collectors.

    January 4, 1946
    Plans are being made to re-hang all painting galleries. European and American paintings, including Homer and Sargent water colors, which have been in storage for the duration, will be placed on permanent exhibition.

    January 15 - March 30, 1946
    A three-dimensional history of textiles. The inventions and developments in all phases of textile arts and techniques, from the earliest fibers, dyes and looms to the present, will be illustrated by maps, models and materials. In connection with the exhibition there will be lectures by leading authorities on such phases of the fabric arts as the development of historical and synthetic fibers, printing and finishing of materials, and the technological skills in the field. These lectures will be for the professional public and admission will be by invitation only.

    April 17 - May 26, 1946
    In keeping with established precedent, artists residing or teaching in Brooklyn will be invited to submit works in oil, water color, black and white and sculpture for selection by a jury.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1942 - 1946. 07-09/1945, 051-2.
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