CURRIER AND IVES: THE IRISH AND AMERICA
By Kevin O'Rourke
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
144 pp., $39.95
How renowned printmakers portray the Irish immigrant experience
Currier and Ives, the American printmakers, recognized a market for their images among Irish Americans. During the last half of the 19th century, they produced 204 separate prints targeting Irish immigrants and people of Irish descent. Seventy-five of those prints have been reproduced in this handsome and informative compendium.
Subjects for the Irish market ranged from scenic Irish landscapes to heroic portraits. Scenes from the Irish struggle for independence from England and images of Irish freedom-fighters were also popular.
For the Irish-American audience, Currier and Ives generated pictures of Irish-American military leaders, churchmen, and sports heroes such as boxer John L. Sullivan. The section devoted to scenes in the United States features the Irish, especially their role in the American Civil War, but bespeaks the immigrant experience of many nationalities.