Springfield Museums Press Releases

Lecture Examines How Currier & Ives Prints Helped Define America

Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts

March 17, 2006

The Currier & Ives lecture series at the Museum of Fine Arts will continue on
April 2 at 2 p.m. with Currier & Ives: Constructing What It Meant to Be American. The talk will be presented by Barry O'Connell, professor of English at Amherst College.

An expert on American 19th-century literature and social history, Professor O'Connell will discuss American self-identity as expressed in the prints of Currier & Ives. From its inception, the firm of Currier & Ives -- who called themselves "the printmakers to the people" -- made lithographs for ordinary people, and the pictures hung on the walls of America's homes, stores, barbershops, firehouses, barrooms, and barns. These images, often idealized or romanticized, reflected what middle-class Americans wanted to believe about their country.

The program is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Currier & Ives: An American Panorama, on view at the Museum of Fine Arts through June 4, 2006. The lecture series is sponsored by The Republican. The talk is free with museum admission.
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