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1885 Currier and Ives Civil War Portrait of General Grant and Cincinnati

[General Grant and Cincinnati.] - Main View

1885 Currier and Ives Civil War Portrait of General Grant and Cincinnati


General Grant with his beloved warhorse, Cincinnati.


[General Grant and Cincinnati.]
  1885 (dated)     22.5 x 16.5 in (57.15 x 41.91 cm)


A striking 1885 four-color chromolithograph portrait of General Ulysses S. Grant and his fully dressed chestnut warhorse Cincinnati. Grant his here presented in as a Brigadier General, with three stars on his epaulets, suggesting this portrait must represent Grant sometime between 1864 and 1865. Union troops with an American flag battle standard march in the background. This image was issued in 1885 just a few days after Grant's death - presumably to capitalize on general enthusiasm eulogizing the war hero.
Grant: The General
Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was one of the most influential figures an American military history. He was born in Point Pleasant Ohio, the son of a tanner and merchant. After attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he went on to serve with distinction as a Quartermaster in the Mexican American War (1846 -1848). He resigned his commission in 1854, but after a brief stint back at the leather shop, Grant re-enlisted as a Major to fight the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). He rose quickly through the ranks, being promoted to Colonel, then Brigadier General in 1861. In 1864, following several major victories, Grant was promoted to a 3-star Lieutenant General, only George Washington had held this rank previously. Firmly in command of Union Forces, Grant was able to turn the tide of the war. Early in the Civil War, the patrician southern General Robert E. Lee's tactical and strategic genius led to numerous Confederate victories, often against superior, better equipped Union armies. Grant, who rose through his early ranks as a quartermaster, understood supply lines and 'the big picture'. Unlike Lee and earlier Union commanders, he oversaw the entire as a whole and recognized the Union manufacturing superiority and supply lines as the deciding factor. With dogged determination, Grant pursued Confederate forces throughout the south, often with heavy losses, ultimately accepting Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. Following the War, Grant was generally worshiped as the hero who save the Union. His service as a general, reflected here, is often overshadowed by a presidency criticized (fairly or unfairly) for scandal and corruption.
The Warhorse: Cincinnati
This portrait of Grant is distinctive for its striking illustration of Grant's chestnut warhorse, Cincinnati. The thoroughbred was given to Grant following the Battle of Chattanooga (November 23 - November 25, 1863). Grant described Cincinnati as 'the finest horse he had ever seen'. Indeed, Cincinnati was of a distinguished lineage, having been sired by Lexington, at the time holder of the country's fasted four-mile record. Of Cincinnati, one Union officer observed,
In quietude this famous animal seemed gentle and spiritless, but the battle sounds stirred him with enthusiasm. No artist could paint the beauty of this horse in the midst of action, when the curb was required to hold him back.
Grant allowed no-one to ride Cincinnati save, curiously, President Lincoln. After the war Cincinnati retired to a farm in Maryland, where he died of old age.
Chromolithography 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 Census
Despite being widely reproduced from the Library of Congress example, this print is rare and we have identified only the Library of Congress example as representing a true physical example. The Library of Congress example has curious rounded corners, suggesting a completely different printing, with the subtitle To the Grand Army of the Republic this Print of our Old Commander General U.S. Grant is Respectfully dedicated.. It is unclear if the present example, with square corners, also had this subtitle trimmed, or not. The Library of Congress example is also dated January 1, 1865, but upon closer research, this is dating error on the part of that august institution. This example has a copyright on record for July 23, 1885, just two days after Grant's death.


Charles Jacob Currier (February 8, 1819 - December 4, 1887) was an American publisher, lithographer, and engraver active in New York during the second half of the 19th century. He was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Currier is often overshadowed by his older brother, Nathaniel Currier, of the Currier and Ives firm. While Charles Currier is sometimes associated with Currier and Ives, and with Nathaniel Currier separately, he also published independently under his own imprint. It was Charles Currier who introduced Nathaniel Currier (1813 - 1888), to his brother-in-law James Merritt Ives (1824 - 1895), who eventually partnered in 1857 to found one of the predominate graphic publishing firms in American history, Currier and Ives. He died in Brookline, Massachusetts and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn. More by this mapmaker...

James Merritt Ives (March 5, 1824 - January 3, 1895) was an American businessman, bookkeeper, and lithographer who oversaw the business side of the famed lithographic firm Currier and Ives. Born in New York City, Ives was a self-trained artist who began working at the age of twelve. He married Caroline Clark (1827 - 1896) on June 24, 1846, who was the sister-in-law of Nathaniel Currier's brother, Charles Currier. In 1852, Nathaniel Currier (March 27, 1813 - November 20, 1888) hired Ives as the bookkeeper for his firm N. Currier, Lithographer, on Charles's recommendation. Ives' talent for art and his knowledge of the artistic world soon became apparent to Currier, who valued his insights as well as the business acumen. Currier offered Ives a full partnership in 1857. They renamed the firm 'Currier and Ives' with Ives as the general manager. Ives began to play a role in selecting artists and prints to publish, and was responsible for pursuing publication of scenes of middle-class America that made the firm famous. After Ives died in 1895, his sons continued to work with Currier's son to manage the firm until it was liquidated in 1907. Learn More...


Good. A few very minor verso mends. Title in lower margin may have been trimmed. Slight surface abrasions.


Library of Congress, PGA - Currier and Ives--To the grand Army... (D size) [PandP]. Currier and Ives : a catalogue raisonné, Gale Research. (Detroit, MI : Gale Research) c. 1983, no. 6582.