Evening pastoral. Man on horse lower foreground herding cattle across brook to farm yard. House lit from within up on knoll at left, barn to right.
Among the most popular of Currier & Ives lithographs are the serene views of country life, as depicted in “Eventide – October. The Village Inn.” As more people crowded into American cities during the last half of the nineteenth century, the idea of an idyllic life in the country was romanticized. Currier & Ives recognized the city resident’s desire for a simpler life and produced many genre prints as an alternative to the chaotic urban environment. While the rural images were full of nostalgia, they also represented a more democratic approach to art. Americans, particularly the growing middle class, preferred genre subjects, images of ordinary people performing ordinary activities, rather than more elevated themes. Currier & Ives catered to the middle-class market and described their company as “the best, cheapest, and most popular firm in the democratic country,” providing “colored engravings for the people.”