Christmas Card (First Prize Winner of Louis Prang's Christmas Card Competition, 1881)

Elihu Vedder American
Printer Louis Prang & Co. American
Publisher Louis Prang & Co. American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 773

In 1881, L. Prang & Company, the leading printer and publisher of chromolithographs in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century, held their second annual Christmas card design competition. The Symbolist artist Elihu Vedder won first prize for his painting of an allegorical figure set within an Art Nouveau-style border that features an excerpt from a poem by Celia Thaxter. Prang reproduced the painting as a multi-color lithograph and included Thaxter’s poem in full on the back, along with a caption declaring Vedder as the winner of a $1000 award for his design. The card is decorated with silk fringe and along its four edges, with two tassels hanging from the bottom corners and a no-longer existing string at the top, which would have allowed recipients of the card to hang it on the walls of their home or on their Christmas tree.

Christmas Card (First Prize Winner of Louis Prang's Christmas Card Competition, 1881), Elihu Vedder (American, New York 1836–1923 Rome), Color lithograph with silk fringe and tassels

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