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Kurz & Allison Chromolithograph - Williamsburg - 1893

Louis Kurz (1834-1921, b. Salzburg, Austria, d. Chicago, Illinois) "Battle of Williamsburg", Kurz & Allison, Chicago: 1893. An original vibrant chromolithograph - skillfully finished in gum arabic and mounted on canvas - depicting this famed Civil War battle in vivid detail and a bright color palette. Text below the image reads, "GEN. HANCOCK'S CHARGE, MAY 5' 1862, UNION (GEN. McCLELLAN) LOSS: 456 KD (KILLED), 1411 WD (WOUNDED), 372 MISSG. (MISSING) CONF. (GEN. J.E. JOHNSTON) LOSS: ABT (ABOUT) 1000 KD (KILLED) & WD (WOUNDED), 800 PRIS. (PRISONERS). --- COPYRIGHTED 1893 BY KURZ & ALLISON, 76&78 WABASH AVE., CHICAGO ---BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG." Size: 28.25" W x 22.125" H (71.8 cm x 56.2 cm) Size: 27.875" W x 21.75" H (70.8 cm x 55.2 cm)

The Chicago firm of Kurz & Allison is very well known for commemorative prints of American historical scenes. Founded in 1880, the firm's avowed purpose according to its mission statement was to design "for large scale establishments of all kinds, and in originating and placing on the market artistic and fancy prints of the most elaborate workmanship." Indeed, their works lived up to this declaration - quite dramatic, delineated in a bright color palette, and certainly action-packed. Kurz's background as a muralist resulted in mesmerizing historical images as we see here.

Born Ludovicus Ferdinandus Josephus Kurz von Goldenstein, Louis Kurz came to America in 1848. By 1853, he joined his family in Chicago and began a prolific career as a scene painter. During the 1850s, he made lithographs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was associated with Henry Seifert. In the 1860s, he returned to Chicago where he founded the Chicago Lithographic Company (1864-71). Following this, in the 1870s, Kurz founded the American Oleograph Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Finally, in 1878 he returned to Chicago - this time for good. A couple of years later he formed a partnership with Alexander Allison until about 1899. Kurz and Allison produced chromolithographs, and were particularly known for American battle scenes. Many referred to them as the Currier and Ives of the Midwest. Kurz's work may be found in the collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin; Chicago Historical Society; Library of Congress; New York Public Library; Milwaukee Historical Society; Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Condition: Creases, wear, and minor loss to lower edge of margin and corners. Paper shows normal toning. Nicely finished in gum arabic and mounted on canvas.

Provenance: private Lucille Lucas collection, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA

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