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1893 Kurz and Allison Life-size Chromolithograph of Columbia

Liberty. - Main View

1893 Kurz and Allison Life-size Chromolithograph of Columbia


Columbia - a life-sized chromolithograph.


  1893 (undated)     77.75 x 40.5 in (197.485 x 102.87 cm)


A spectacular full-height chromolithograph illustration of Columbia issued c. 1893 by Kurz and Allison, likely for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair or Columbia Exposition. Liberty appears here in full patriotic regalia, with a toga, blue cape, American flag shield, sword, laurel wreath, and Phrygian cap.
Chromolithography, sometimes called oleography, 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 product. 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 dominant method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
1893 Columbian Exposition
The 1893 Columbian Exposition or Chicago World's Fair was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. Chicago, keen to parade to the world its remarkable recovery from the disastrous 1871 Great Fire of Chicago, won the right to host the World's Fair over New York, Washington D.C., and St. Louis. During its six-month run, nearly 27,000,000 people attended the Columbian Exposition, correlating to roughly half the 1893 population of the United States. Its numerous displays and exhibits established conventions for architecture, design, and decorative arts, initiated a new era of American industrial optimism.
Publication History and Census
This chromolithograph was published in 1893 by Kurz and Allison of Chicago. We are aware of just one other example, which appeared on the market nearly nine years ago. There is no record of this piece in the OCLC, or in any other known catalog.


Kurz and Allison (1880 - c. 1905) was an American publishing firm known for its chromolithographs. Founded by Louis Kurz (1835 - 1921) and Alexander Allison, the firm was based at 267-269 Wabash Avenue in Chicago. In the partnership, it is known that Kurz, an Austrian immigrant, was the lithographer and it is presumed that Allison provided the financial backing. The firm is most well-known for its series of thirty-six battle scenes from the American Civil War. At the time of their publication, the late 1880s and early 1890s, a general nostalgia was prevalent among Civil War veterans (of which Kurz was one), and evidently the company was trying to capitalize on the sentiment. Kurz and Allison's Civil War prints were not the first such prints to be issued, but they were by far the most popular. In a style reminiscent of Currier and Ives, Kurz and Allison lithographs are not meant to be historical representations, and even, from time to time, included historical inaccuracies. Even so, 'prints depicting the Civil War battles by Kurz and Allison are among the most sought-after collectibles of Civil War enthusiasts.' Their prints are also notable for featuring African-American soldiers, a rarity for the era. After the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the firm published views from famous battles and continued doing so for the campaigns of the Philippine-American War and the Russo-Japanese War. Learn More...


Very good. Laid down on fresh linen. Three sheets joined b publisher. Some edge fill. Original roller sticks.