I was hunting for something in my house, and came across a cache of old chromolithographs that my father had collected. They’re by the artist and inventor, Louis Prang, also known as the Father of the American Christmas Card. Prang was a noted lithographer in the mid-1800’s and was elemental in bringing art to schools through his reproductions of famous works.
Chromolithographs were made using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, and were extremely expensive when done for the best quality results. Depending on the number of colors present, a chromolithograph could take months to produce, by very skilled workers. Some chromolithographs had as few as four colours, and others as many as 40! Prang’s chromolithographs were of the highest quality, especially in America at that time.
William Walters, who founded what is now known as the Walters Art Museum, commissioned Louis Prang & Co., the foremost practitioners of the art of chromolithography, to reproduce choice examples of Chinese porcelain from his extensive collection.Prang’s artisans engaged in the painstaking work of recording every detail of Walters’ vases to produce richly colored lithographs that faithfully captured the surface and color of each ceramic piece. The production of the book took nearly sixteen years and brought together some of the nation’s finest artists and craftspeople.
In one of the prints, the artists have painted a reflection of William Walters’ house and the nearby Washington Monument in Baltimore!Each of the prints has a piece of tissue separating it from the others, and describing the vase in great detail. I love the way the tissue echoes the vase it was protecting.
Which one do you like the most? Please help me choose!