"The Odd Trick"

Publisher Currier & Ives American

Not on view

In this print, a caricatured middle-aged woman --dressed in a green striped dress with a yellowish scarf over her shoulders-- sits in profile on a red chair. Her brown hair is pulled up into a bun (adorned on top with a tiny crown), and she wears a red rose over her left ear. She slyly glances and smiles at her card playing opponent as she holds her wrists crossed above her lap. Her right hand hides her cards as she rests it on her left hand holding a red rose. In the foreground at the bottom of the image, a disembodied male hand holds up five playing cards, with the top card showing one red diamond (the ace card). The title is imprinted in the bottom margin.

This print is one of a set of four (each initialed "F.C" within the image) featuring playing cards. The other three prints are: "Euchered" (Peters 296, Gale 1908; Metropolitan Museum of Art accession no. 52.632.145); "A Full Hand" (Peters 321, Gale 2387; Metropolitan Museum of Art accession no. 52.632.144), and "One for his Nob" (Peters 434, Gale 4985; Metropolitan Museum of Art accession no. 52.632.149)

Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888), whose successful New York-based lithography firm began in 1835, produced thousands of prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life and its history. People eagerly acquired such lithographs featuring picturesque scenery, rural and city views, ships, railroads, portraits, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. As the firm expanded, Nathaniel included his younger brother Charles in the business. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (1824–1895), the firm's accountant since 1852 and Charles's brother-in-law, was made a business partner. Subsequently renamed Currier & Ives, the firm continued via their successors until 1907.

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