The Old Print Shop

Louis Maurer


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Louis Maurer was born in Biebrich, Germany on February 21, 1832 the eldest of five children.  He loved to draw in his spare time and was apprenticed to a lithographer for a brief period of time.  He then assisted his father as a cabinetmaker. 

He emigrated to America with his family, arriving in New York City in August 1851, and immediately went to work as a woodcarver.  A friend recommended that he would make more money using his skills as a lithographer, so he applied to several shops before being hired by T. W. Strong at 98 Nassau Street.  Later he met Charles Currier, Nathaniel's brother, who recommended that he visit his brother and show him some of his work.  Nathaniel was impressed with Maurer and introduced him to Ives who interviewed all new employees.  He was immediately hired and put to work in the basement of 152 Nassau Street.  He worked for the firm for eight years leaving because he wanted a higher salary to marry Louisa Stein than Currier & Ives were willing to pay him.  He went to work for Major & Knapp his new salary $25 a week was double what he was making. Although he was no longer salary at Currier & Ives, he continued to work on stones in the evening at his home for them.  In 1872 he founded his own lithographic firm, Heppenheimer & Maurer.  This new company produced mostly commercial work, advertising broadsides, and cards; however there are several Currier & Ives prints that bear the line Printed by Heppenheimer & Maurer.  Louis Maurer retired in 1884 dedicating himself to his hobbies including painting, riding horses, and shooting.  He was a crack shoot and at the age of ninety was the only one to receive a perfect score at a match.

He died on July 19, 1932 at his home of over sixty years at 404 West 43rd Street.  It is interesting to note that one of his sons was also a fine artist Alfred Henry Maurer.  A noted modernist painter and a member of Alfred Stieglitz's group of early American modern painters.  Alfred Steglitz, a noted photographer, ran a gallery called 291 Fifth Avenue featuring European and American modernism.  Alfred Maurer's powerful portrait paintings are a hallmark of the American modernist movement.  Unfortunately, Alfred, who was living with his father at the time of his death, committed suicide shortly thereafter.