Currier & Ives at Senate House Historic Site

The prints of Currier & Ives—one of the most successful purveyors of lithographic prints in the 19th Century—are diverse, full of fascinating historical information and compelling imagery, perhaps despite their perennial appeal on calendars and cards. A new exhibit at Senate House State Historic Site, in Kingston, NY, offers us forty of their prints focusing on the ideals, values and innovations of the 19th Century. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information on hours, location and other details, please call (845) 338-2786.

While it’s better known for its buildings and collections representing colonial and Revolutionary history, Senate House State Historic Site, located in uptown Kingston, also has impressive collections of objects, documents and art of the 19th Century, including over 200 Currier & Ives prints, given to the site by the late Rutgers Ives Hurry, a Saugerties resident whose passion was collecting images of the Hudson Valley made by the firm.

The Senate House exhibition focuses on three themes: the ideal of the 19th-century home, images of New York City, and Hudson River steamboats (both the luxury and potential dangers they represented). The exhibit is entitled “Cheap and Popular Pictures,” a term touted by Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, who shrewdly observed and marketed their images–made by many different artists of the day—to the opinions, interests and ideals of America’s growing middle class.

Currier & Ives: “Cheap and Popular Pictures” can be viewed during open hours at Senate House State Historic Site: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and 1 – 5 pm on Sundays. The exhibition runs through October 31, and is available by appointment and for school groups after that date. Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston NY, 12401. For more information: (845) 338-2786.

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