Bird's-Eye View of the Great New York and Brooklyn Bridge, and Grand Display of Fire Works on Opening Night.
17.75 x 25.25 in (45.085 x 64.135 cm)
Perhaps the most dynamic and dramatic Brooklyn Bridge View, this is the 1883 A. Major four-color chromolithograph bird's-eye view of the Brooklyn Bridge during the opening day celebrations. Then known as the 'New York and Brooklyn Bridge' or the 'East River Bridge' (it would not be officially renamed the Brooklyn Bridge until 1915), fireworks erupt from both stone towers and the center of the span. Individuals on rooftops and passengers set off additional celebratory fireworks. Steamers, sailboats, and three-masted schooners fill the East River, creating a visual spectacle emphasizing New York's significance as a port. Pedestrians cross the bridge, some in elegant carriages. The bridge's designer, engineers, draughtsmen, and other important individuals are recognized along the bottom border and a short text summarizes the bridge's specifications and its cost: $15,000,000.
Opening Day CelebrationsOpened May 24, 1883, thousands attended the New York and Brooklyn Bridge opening ceremony. Emily Warren Roebling, Washington Roebling's wife and John A. Roebling's daughter-in-law, was the first to cross. President Chester A. Arthur attended the ceremony, and New York mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge to shake hands with Brooklyn mayor Seth Low. Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the project after his father's death, did not attend the ceremony but held a banquet at his house that evening. Other festivities included the dramatic fireworks display, as here, and a band concert. 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed the bridge that day.
ChromolithographyChromolithography is a color lithographic technique developed in the mid-19th century. The process involved using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, to yield a rich composite effect. Oftentimes, the process would start with a black basecoat upon which subsequent colors were layered. Some chromolithographs used 30 or more separate lithographic stones to achieve the desired effect. Chromolithograph color could also be effectively blended for even more dramatic results. The process became extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it emerged as the dominate method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
Publication History and CensusThis view was drawn by an unknown artist and published by A. Major in 1883. Examples are part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York. It is not cataloged in OCLC. Exceedingly rare with no record on the private market.
Very good. Full professional restoration.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 54.90.709. Brooklyn Museum X897.