In the last blog, I talked about the wonderful print illustrated above by Joseph Hoover, a Philadelphia printmaker. Today I'll talk a bit about this publisher whose firm lasted into the early 20th century.
Joseph Hoover started by making elaborate wood frames in Philadelphia in 1856, but within a decade or so he began to produce popular prints. Initially he mostly worked for other publishers, including Duval & Hunter, and he worked with noted Philadelphia artist James F. Queen. He also issued a few hand-colored, popular prints of considerable charm (like the one illustrated above). Later he produced decorative prints in black & white and then began to work in chromolithography, winning a medal for excellence during the Centennial for his chromolithographs after Queen’s renderings.
This was just the beginning of Hoovers work in chromolithography and he became one of the few native Americans who achieved success with this process. By 1885, Hoover installed a complete printing plant for chromolithography. By the end of the century, his firm was one of the largest print publishers in the county, with an average annual production of between 600,000 to 700,000 pictures.
Using chromolithography, Hoover was able to produce attractive, colorful prints that were still affordable for anyone to use as decoration for home and office. The audience for Hoover's prints was quite wide, extending through out the United States, and abroad to Canada, Mexico, England and Germany. The subjects issued by the firm are extensive, including genre scenes, still life images, views of American locations, and generic landscapes, including a series of charming winter scenes.