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Illinois Central Railroad 1882
Digital Art - Digital Painting/photographic Art
This is a digitally hand-painted and enhanced recreation of a small lithographic print which is part of the Library of Congress collection and is in the public domain with no known restrictions. The artist who did the original painting is unknown but that painting was reproduced as a mass production lithograph to be used as an advertisement by lithographers Swain and Lewis of Chicago in 1882. Clearly mine is a derivative work which is based on the original. A lithograph has no texture whereas a digital painting is intended to have the kinds of "toothmarks" that comes from actual brushwork rather than solid colors of ink. Besides obviously changing the medium, I've deepened the colors considerably and changed the sky completely. As you might imagine, the original print has yellowed and faded and is at the same time much smaller than this file would be at full size. I've also eliminated quite a number of elements from the original including the huge advertising "globe" banner, a ship, and some corner insets.I make no claim to originality of subject matter or composition, only to style, color and medium, and for that reason, my copyright applies only to my finished recreation and not to the underlying public domain image from which anyone could make their own reproduction or interpretation.
The Illinois Central Railroad (reporting mark IC), sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois, with New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa (1870).
Most of you are probably old enough to have heard a version of this popular folk song either by Arlo Guthrie (son of the famous Woody Guthrie) or by Willie Nelson called "The City of New Orleans."
Riding on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and 25 sacks of mail...
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.
Good morning America, how are you?
Say, don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.
- Steve Goodman, "City of New Orleans", 1970
The IC is one of the early Class I railroads in the US. Its roots go back to abortive attempts by the Illinois General Assembly to charter a railroad linking the northern and southern parts of the state of Illinois. In 1850 U.S. President Millard Fillmore signed a land grant for the construction of the railroad, making the Illinois Central the first land-grant railroad in the United States.
The Illinois Central was chartered by the Illinois General Assembly on February 10, 1851. Senator Stephen Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln were both Illinois Central men who lobbied for it. Douglas owned land near the terminal in Chicago. Lincoln was a lawyer for the railroad. Upon its completion in 1856 the IC was the longest railroad in the world. Its main line went from Cairo, Illinois, at the southern tip of the state, to Galena, in the northwest corner. A branch line went from Centralia, (named for the railroad) to the rapidly growing city of Chicago. In Chicago its tracks were laid along the shore of Lake Michigan and on an offshore causeway downtown, but land-filling and natural deposition have moved the present-day shore to the east.
In 1867 the Illinois Central extended its track into Iowa, and during the 1870s and 1880s the IC acquired and expanded railroads in the southern United States. IC lines crisscrossed the state of Mississippi and went as far as New Orleans, Louisiana, to the south and Louisville, Kentucky, in the east. In the 1880s, northern lines were built to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska. Further expansion continued into the early twentieth century.
After many changes, lines being sold off to other rail companies, broken up and then reconsolidated in good part, the ICRR is still in operation, now owned by the Canadian National Railroad.
The original of this print which is part of the Library of Congress collection was created through a process called chromolithography - often called color for the masses because it made original oil paintings available to the public at very reasonable prices. A chromolithograph is a color lithograph in which each of many colors is printed by a separate stone. The term "chromolithograph" is usually reserved for complex color lithographs that reproduce a painting, such as this example. Chromolithographs usually make use of many (dozens) of lithographic stone each of which prints one color. Properly registering so many stones, so they are precisely aligned one atop the other, is a technical feat in itself.
The process of chromolithography is chemical, because an image is applied to a stone or zinc plate with a grease-based crayon. (Limestone and zinc are two commonly used materials in the production of chromolithographs.) After the image is drawn onto stone, the stone is gummed with gum arabic solution and weak nitric acid, and then inked with oil-based paints and passed through a printing press along with a sheet of paper to transfer the image to the paper. Colors may be added to the print by drawing the area to receive the color on a different stone, and printing the new color onto the paper. Each color in the image must be separately drawn onto a new stone or plate and applied to the paper one at a time. It was not unusual for twenty to twenty-five stones to be used on a single image. Each sheet of paper will therefore pass through the printing press as many times as there are colors in the final print. In order that each color is placed in the right position in each print, each stone or plate must be precisely "registered," or lined up, on the paper using a system of register marks.
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Please contact the artist, Lianne Schneider, directly if you purchase this image as a giclee print on canvas, framed or unframed. A signed and numbered Certificate of Authenticity is available for each canvas indicating title of the work, artist's name, date of creation, a thumbnail of the painting, the origin of original work if the painting is a derivative, the number of your print in the limited printing and a guarantee that the work will no longer be available to the public in a canvas format once 25 canvas prints are sold.
Copyright Lianne Schneider 2014
All images and my personal poetry/prose are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, copied, reproduced in derivative works, displayed, published or broadcast by any means or in any form without prior written consent from the artist. My copyright does not imply rights to an underlying public domain image and I make no such claim. Copyright on works derived from or based on images in the public domain applies only to the subsequent manipulation or the digital painting resulting from my own style and interpretation. The original image remains in the public domain and such images are used in accordance with international law
March 28th, 2014
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