When the Civil War broke out, President Lincoln asked his friend Louis Kurz to visit the scenes of action and make a record of the fighting. The lithographs are Kurz's interpretations of the battles, based either upon eyewitness reports. Kurz brought a depth of feeling and perspective about the war that no camera ever could. It would be safe to say that Louis Kurz became one of the first war correspondents during the Civil War. These lithographs were taken from Kurz's original sketches which were the first pictures to be released after the war. These chromolithographs were published between the years 1887 and 1893.
In the days when Chicago was on its ascent as a city in America, the Chicago Lithographing Company prided itself on turning out nothing less than "every description of lithographic work done in the best style". Similar to others in the trade, Louis Kurz had learned his craft in Germany, the birthplace of lithography. Like the city itself, the Chicago Lithographing Company was a melting-pot. Kurz' partners were Otto Jevne, a Norwegian; Peter Almini, a Swede; and Edward Carqueville, a Frenchman. They had to be, and were, versatile. In addition to every sort of printing for business and "Art Publishing", the partners sold artists' supplies, designed frescoes and (probably when business was slack) painted houses.
The firm of Kurz and Allison was formed in 1880 when Louis Kurz returned from Milwaukee, where he had gone when the Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed his first lithographic establishment. He formed a partnership with Alexander Allison, Kurz and Allison, Art Publishers. They printed both plain and colored lithographs on a variety of subjects from the narrative and fanciful to the luridly documentary.
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