Seat of War. Bird's Eye View of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
22.25 x 29.75 in (56.515 x 75.565 cm)
A striking 1861 three-color Schedler/Schaus chromolithograph view/map of the Chesapeake Bay region, including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington D.C., shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). Centered on the Chesapeake Bay, the view covers roughly from Gettysburg to Albemarle Sound and from the Ohio River to the Atlantic seaboard. Steam/Sail ships cluster around the mouth of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, presumably an attempt to illustrate the ad hoc Union naval blockade of Confederacy.
War as ArtIt is of note, that while this piece is described as a 'Birds Eye View', it is in fact a map. Nonetheless, it is presented as a view: on thick paper, with striking almost three-dimensional topography, with rich chromolithograph color, and stylistic conventions of American viewmaking, including the double border and title in the lower margin. These factors underscore that this map was intended to be sold as art, to be mounted and framed in libraries and fine homes - a sales model entirely in line with Schaus's gallery business.
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 CensusThe view was drawn by Joseph Schedler on behalf of William Schaus, at the time New York City's most prominent art dealer. It was engraved and printed by the major New York firm of Sarony, Major and Knapp. International publishing partners, Francois Delarue of Paris and
H. Graves of London, stress both Schaus's impressive international backing, and the intention to sell the print abroad, where interested in the American Civil War was running high. The map is scarce on the market, but well represented institutionally.
Carl Wilhelm Friederich Schaus (July 4, 1821 - December, 29 1892), generally known as William Schaus, was a German-American art dealer and print maker active in the middle to late 19th century. He was born in Nassau, Deggendorf, Bayern, Germany. Schaus began his career in Paris with the established 'Goupil, Vibert et Cie.' Around 1857, Schaus was sent to New York to establish an American branch of the French firm as well as to set up an International Art Union to compete with the powerful American Art Union. Schaus, with his considerable experience and support from abroad, was able to lure several important artists away from the American Art Union. This helped him to develop an impressive portfolio of artists and prints. In the early 1860 Schaus split with Goupil Vilbert to establish his own offices at 629 Broadway, in New York City. By the late 1860s he was the most powerful art dealer in New York, they type 'who only met the richest classes' (Democrat and Chronical, January 7, 1893). He was the first to import a genuine Rembrandt, The Gilder to the United States. He also issued a varied corpus of works that included maps, views, art prints, and illustrations. He retired in March of 1892, leaving his business to his son, Hermann Schaus and partner A. W. Conover. His vast personal art collection sold at auction in May of 1892. His daughter, Mabel Schaus (1865 - 1900) was involved in a romantic scandal that rocked New York social life when she eloped with a married man 'Stillman', who ironically died a year later. He died in December of that year. Another of Schaus's sons, William Schaus Jr. (1858 - 1942) was a famous entomologist. Schaus is interred in New York's Greenwood Cemetery.
Napoleon Sarony (March 9, 1821 - November 9, 1896) was a dashingly handsome Canadian-American lithographer and publisher active in New York in the mid to late 19th century. Sarony was born in Quebec and emigrated to New York City in 1835. He apprenticed under Henry Robinson (fl. 1830/33 - 1850) before working as a lithograph artist for Nathaniel Currier (1813 - 1888). In 1846, he partnered with Currier's apprentice lithographer Henry B. Major to establish the firm of 'Sarony and Major.' From offices at 117 Futon Street, they published under this imprint until roughly 1853, when Sarony split off on his own under the imprint 'Sarony and Co.', still at 117 Fulton. At the time 'and Co.' probably meant Joseph Fairchild Knapp (1832 - 1891), Sarony's apprentice, and Richard C. Major, possibly Henry Major's son. In 1857, a new imprint was established as 'Sarony, Major and Knapp'. According to an advertisement in the New York Times (Feb 16, 1864), Sarony had invested in the business at founding, but was not an active partner, possibly because he was traveling in Europe. It is unclear why Sarony's name was maintained, possibly to capitalize on his fame, as a honorific, or possibly because he owned a major stake. They published under this imprint until 1863, becoming a major concern at 449 Broadway. Sarony's name was formally removed from the partnership in 1863. At the time he was traveling in Europe, mastering the most advanced color lithography and photographic techniques. He is known to have worked in France, Germany, and England. He returned to New York in the 1860s, establishing a photography company at 37 Union Square that became famous for its portraits of late-19th-century American theater icons. In 1891, Sarony, hoping to capitalize on Sarah Bernhardt's fame as 'Cleopatra', paid the stage actress 1,500 USD to sit for a photo session, the modern-day equivalent of 20,000 USD - suggesting a highly prosperous business. His son, Otto Sarony (1850–1903), continued the family business as a theater and film star photographer. As an aside, Sarony's second wife, Louie Sarony, was a known eccentric who would reportedly dress in elaborate rented costumes to walk around Washington Square each afternoon.
Good. Minor creasing on original folds and in lower right quadrant. Closed repair from right side extending through margins and slightly into map. Margin repair, left side. Edge wear. On extremely thick stock.
Library of Congress, Map Division, G3709.31.A35 1861 .S32 CW 17.35.