Champions of the Mississippi "A Race for the Buckthorns"

Champions of the Mississippi: A Race for the Buckhorns

Frances Flora Bond Palmer (b. 1812 - d. 1876)

Champions of the Mississippi: A Race for the Buckhorns

1866

chromolithograph

Preston Player Collection, Knox College

Palmer worked as a staff artist for Currier and Ives, the major publisher of lithographic prints in the United States during the 19th century. Lithography proved to be the perfect democratic medium for providing accessible scenes of everyday life to a growing number of middle class collectors. At at time when most women conformed to traditional gender roles, Palmer pursued an independent artistic career and was the only female printmaker employed by Currier and Ives. Although she was responsible for producing a number of original designs, she was not always credited in the copyright of her prints. Palmer is notable for creating images that catered to both masculine and feminine aesthetic tastes. This print promotes the dangerous and highly masculine pastime of steamboat racing, which often led to deadly explosions of the steam engine. Palmer depicts the boats slicing the water at a dynamic angle. However, her iconic traits of soft trees and delicate moonlight serve to romanticize and soften the harsh linear forms and fiery action of the scene.

Ruth Holmes

Views of the Mississippi
Champions of the Mississippi