Alfred R. Waud. “Government auction on the levee at Cairo, Illinois.” From Harper’s Weekly. New York, May 26, 1866. 6 3/4 x 9 1/4. Wood engraving. Very good condition.
Harper’s Weekly was a New York based newspaper in the last half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In weekly issues, Harper’s presented a mixture of news stories, gossip, poetry, and most notably, wood-engraved illustrations. These pictures remain one of the best sources for lively, informative images of nineteenth-century America. With photographs in a primitive stage, and no television, it is through these illustrations that much of the country got its visual information about the events, personalities and places of the time.
After the Civil War, Harper’s sent Alfred R. Waud, an English-born artist, to the American South to document the aftermath of the conflict. Waud had made a name for himself as a war artist, but his detailed, accurate and sympathetic images of the southern United States in 1866 show that he was as good a peace-time artist.