John Gannam’s Amazing Watercolors

In the field of commercial illustration we have, in the work of John Gannam, our Rodney Dangerfield. It’s not that other illustrators didn’t respect him. In fact, they were in awe of his talent. But the broader public and even many a casual observer of illustration and advertising in the 40s and 50s wouldn’t recognize […]

Bundy’s Beauties

He’ll be remembered for his high-spirited approach to playboys, booze and party girls that populated his Depression-Era cartoons. Many of these gags wouldn’t fly in today’s post-MeToo environment. But the 1930s were the Golden Age of Sexism. And you can’t deny Bundy’s enormous talent and technical ability. Here’s a sample.

La Gatta’s Lovely Ladies

I knew John La Gatta. Ok, knew might not be exactly the right word. But I was in the same room with him on a number of occasions. I was a greenhorn student at The Art Center School in Los Angeles in the early sixties, fresh out of high school and had delusions of becoming […]

Robert Fawcett: At the Scene of the Crime

Robert Fawcett is justifiably called an illustrator’s illustrator. He was born in England, raised in Canada and later lived and worked in the U.S. His career took off in the 1940s and 50s as a top illustrator for magazine publishers. He later became one of the original founders of The Famous Artist School. While he […]

A.B. Frost’s Early Street Sketches and Reportage

Arthur Burdette Frost’s early work was principally in pen line – like most book and magazine illustrations of the period. Line drawings reproduced better and were cheaper to engrave than halftone art. As one of Harper’s star artists, Frost was often sent out to cover articles on different parts of the country. Small towns and […]

Zany Trade Cards-Small ads of the late 1800s

One of the most popular forms of advertising for small businesses at the turn of the century were trade cards (small space ads).  They were about half the size of today’s postcard. And they were typically a pre-printed color image on the front.  The local businesses would print their own message on the blank reverse […]

A.B. Frost: The Sporting Art

Arthur Burdett Frost was one of America’s greatest artists. More than a famous magazine illustrator, who became best known for his sporting prints and paintings, he covered a wide range of subjects in his art. Frost’s depictions of the rural farmer, lowly shop-keepers and housewives, local politicians and black citizens of the old south were […]

Elegant pen work of Edwin Austin Abbey

Philadelphia-born Edwin Austin Abbey rocketed to artistic success early in life. He started his career as an artist producing illustrations for Harper’s Weekly Magazine when he was a teenager. He quickly established a reputation as a fine pen and ink artist and became a star in the Harper stable of illustrators. Later, he moved to […]

When Men Wore Hats. Seriously.

When guys really wore hats, before J.F.K. made them passe with his hatless public appearances, men wore them everywhere. Sporty hats, formal hats, top hats, caps, berets. While western hats (a.k.a. Cowboy Hats) are still popular in places today., (except for self-styled hipsters) the urban male has generally forsaken the topper. Maybe the nostalgic look […]

Leslie Saalburg | Dapper Dandies

Nobody epitomized quality men’s fashion back in the 1930s like Esquire Magazine and the artists who graced it’s pages with their illustrations. Names like Robert Goodman, George Hughes, Laurence Fellows and Leslie Saalburg rendered the latest in sartorial splendor for readers. Saalburg was probably the most prolific and also churned out advertising art for the […]

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