Charles Craver, a professional illustrator whose career has spanned 54 years, graduated from the Washington University School of Fine Arts in 1934.
Harry Russell Ballinger was born in 1892 and studied at the University of California, San Francisco; the Art Students League; the Académie Colarossi, Paris; and with Harvey Dunn. Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, his illustrations appeared in numerous magazines, including Ladies’ Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, and Cosmopolitan. Ballinger’s work was done in an impeccably subtle watercolor style with an emphasis on elegant and heavily posed drawing room scenes. Following his career as a magazine illustrator while living in New Hartford, Connecticut, and Rockport, Massachusetts, Ballinger became well known for his seascape paintings. He authored Painting Surf and Sea (1957); Painting Boats and Harbors (1959); Landscapes (1965); and Painting Sea and Shore (1966).
Jay Hyde Barnum was a book and magazine illustrator active from the 1920s through the ’40s. He contributed interior and cover illustrations for Collier’s, and his paintings also appeared in Good Housekeeping, The American Weekly, McCall’s, Collier’s, Liberty, and Woman’s Home Companion. Working primarily in watercolor or oil, his illustrations often appeared in full-color with loose passages of interlocking figures evoking a rich solidity. Barnum was equally adept at deep interiors and beach scenes, athletic activity and embracing couples.
Born in Oakville, Missouri, Warren W. Baumgartner studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under J. Wellington Reynolds and at the Grand Central School with Pruett Carter and Walter Biggs. Baumgartner’s primary medium was watercolor and his treatment is noteworthy for fluidity, action, and evocative highlights. Employing local landscape and models for all his work, he contributed both color and black-and-white story illustrations for Collier’s, Woman’s Home Companion, Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as advertising illustrations throughout his career.
Cecil Claver Beall was born in Saratoga, Wyoming and studied at Pratt Institute and the Art Students League under George Bridgman. Beall’s magazine illustrations were done in watercolor, a medium in which he excelled. His art is crisp, bold, and dramatically composed, emphasizing both starkly iconic imagery and dramatically transparent movement, often in the same image. His images of beautiful women and elegant men in action-charged contemporary life were published in both black-and-white and color, always deftly exploiting the tonal range of a given reproduction technology. In 1936, Beall painted a portrait of President Roosevelt for the cover of Collier’s, one of his major clients, after which he was appointed art director for the National Democratic Committee. During World War II he continued to paint portraits of decorated heroes for the covers of Collier’s, in addition to contributing war-related reportage. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators and won their Award of Excellence in the 1961 exhibition.
Harry Beckhoff was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and studied under Harvey Dunn and George Bridgman at the Art Students League and at the Grand Central School of Art. His work was first published in The Country Gentleman in 1929. Beckhoff’s story and advertising illustrations subsequently appeared in many magazines, and he also did book illustrations, but he was most well-known for illustrations done for Damon Runyon’s Broadway stories in Collier’s. His was an inimitable, graphic style, a clean line based on caricature and which emphasized bold patterns, active, whimsical interweaving shapes, and vibrant color. Beckhoff’s crisp contours often outline coltish young women and dapper men in movement, reflecting the foreword-looking action of the 1930s, and represented a charming breath of fresh air to the shadowy, heavily modeled imagery typical of the time. His work began as tiny, precise thumbnails which he then enlarged through a pantograph for the final ink and wash color version.
Wladyslaw Theodore Benda was born in Poznan, Poland educated in Krakow at the Krakow College of Technology and Art and Vienna before immigrating to the United States in 1898. He became a U.S. citizen in 1911 but continued to support his Polish heritage by designing several posters for recruiting Polish patriots during World War I. He specialized in exotic fiction, and following the war, his illustrations appeared in Life, Vanity Fair, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, Scribners, Vogue, and Collier’s, where he provided the definitive imagery for Sax Rohmer’s serialized Fu Manchu stories. His striking color covers were frequently dominated by languid, exotic women, and became so well known that the “Benda Girl” was immediately recognizable. Benda’s women were sculptural in their intricate modeling, an appropriate stylistic approach as he was also a renowned mask-maker, with his masks appearing in theatre and dance performances internationally and used as promotions for Hollywood movies. His book Masks was published in 1944, and they became in increasingly important aspect of his art making. Benda also illustrated numerous books throughout his career.
Born near London, England, Geoffrey Biggs went through high school in America and studied at the Grand Central School of Art under Arshile Gorky and Harvey Dunn, among others. Biggs worked primarily in watercolor, mastering large washes and controlled bleeds and he specialized in action-packed images, specifically nautical and aviation scenes. His work first appeared in Collier’s, soon followed by The Saturday Evening Post, True, Liberty, Woman’s Home Companion, Esquire, Coronet, Pic, and Good Housekeeping, as well as numerous advertising campaigns in the 1930s and ’40s.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, James R. Bingham studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He animated Army Air Force films and worked as a Naval officer attached to the Office of Research and Invention during World War II. After the war, he did a sustained series of illustrations for Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason serials and other mystery stories for Saturday Evening Post, all marked by inventive compositions and an accomplished slick painting style. His story illustrations also appeared in Woman’s Home Companion, and he did advertising illustration for clients such as Philadelphia Whiskey, Gulf Oil Corporation, Maxwell House Coffee, the Air Transportation, and the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Bingham won awards including Art Directors Club Medals in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Miami.
Henry E. Bischoff contributed striking story illustrations to Collier’s in the 1940s that immediately stood out in their ambition. Painted in mixed media, his work literally dominated the page: large (often full-page) and electrifyingly dramatic, with rich, swirling colors, dreamlike imagery and active compositions, pointing toward more experimental approaches in book and magazine illustration in the late 1940s and ’50s.
Born in Ohio, Maurice Lincoln Bower was raised in Philadelphia and attended Pennsylvania State University before switching his focus to art and studying under Howard Pyle-alumnus Walter Everett at the School of Industrial Art. Bower’s earliest illustrations, done while still a student, were published in St. Nicholas. For five years, he lived part-time in Paris while on assignment for the McCall Corporation, and had work published by all the major magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, where he contributed several covers in the 1930s. Bower worked in charcoal and oil, and his rich tonal style is evident in both mediums.
Born in Humboldt, Minnesota, Austin Briggs grew up in Detroit, Michigan and studied at the Wicker Art School and the Detroit City College before moving to New York City as a teenager. During the Depression he did movie posters for Fox Studios and attended the Art Students League. After working at an advertising agency and doing freelance illustration work, he became an assistant to the cartoonist Alex Raymond on the Flash Gordon newspaper comic strip, eventually taking over both the Sunday and daily versions, and also succeeding Raymond on Secret Agent X-9. In the early 1940s, his work also appeared in comic books, where he drew the title character’s adventures for Spy Smasher, and the pulp magazines, notably Blue Book, and his impressive work for that publication helped enable him to move full-time into the “slicks,” gaining such clients as Reader's Digest, Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. His lush style epitomized the period’s goals: an impeccably slick dry-brush mastered to foreground heroic males and beautiful girls. Briggs was among the founding faculty of the Famous Artists School and a Gold Medal winner in the Society of Illustrators’ exhibitions. In 1969 he was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame. He resided for most of his life in Connecticut, but lived in Paris at the time of his death.
Elmore J. Brown attended high school in Oak Park, Illinois with Ernest Hemingway, and illustrated the author’s first published short story, “A Matter of Color,” in the Tabula, the school annual. Brown went on to study at the Chicago Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York. His instructors were John Norton, George Bellows, Leopold Seyffert, Leon Kroll and Eugene Speicher. In the early 1930s, he began advertising illustrations for such clients as Hoover, and story illustrations began appearing in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1931. Done in large part for adventure, crime, and war fiction, his work appeared regularly in Collier’s from 1933 to 1949. Brown developed his own scientific analysis of painted color, which he incorporated in his illustrations. He was a member of the Artists and Writers association and a life member of the Society of Illustrators.
Born in Lexington, Missouri, Pruett Carter was raised on a Wyoming Indian reservation. His family moved to California so he could attend high school and after graduation he was encouraged to pursue a career as an artist by cartoonist James Swinnerton, creator of Little Jimmy. Carter then attended the Los Angeles Art School, and his early career was spent working for the New York American, the Atlanta Georgian, and as editor for Good Housekeeping. As an editor, he gave himself a story manuscript to illustrate, thus beginning his life-long career as a freelance illustrator. For forty years Carter worked for the leading magazines, among them Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, and Woman’s Home Companion. In his work, loose, heavily impastoed oil paint conjures both shadowy, dramatically lit interiors and impressionistic, sun-dappled verandas. Carter was also an important teacher at the Grand Central School of Art in New York and at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, where he headed the illustration department. He was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1988.
Frederic T. Chapman was born in Windsor, California and studied at the Art Students League under George Bridgman and worked with Vojtech Preissig, a Czech printmaker who taught him the linoleum cut process, which came to be an important medium for the artist. Chapman’s ink and watercolor wash illustrations reflected this graphic emphasis, with sharp contours and bold, linear compositions. After working for department stores and newspapers in New York, his drawings began appearing in Collier’s, Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Liberty, Woman’s Home Companion, and Everybody’s, and Chapman illustrated a number of travel assignments for Vogue in the 1920s. He gradually moved away from periodical work to focus on book illustration following the enthusiastic response to his first volume, Voyages to Finland in 1942. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators and lived much of his life in New Jersey.
Ralph Pallen Coleman hailed from Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial of Art. His illustrations first appeared in Saturday Evening Post in 1919, and he went on to work for numerous publications over the next two decades, including Cosmopolitan, Liberty, and Ladies’ Home Journal. His paintings, frequently reproduced as a single color, were dominated by beautiful young women and often exotic locales set in backgrounds built up of luminous blocks of paint. Fiction illustrations for such authors as Somerset Maugham and F. Scott Fitzgerald were a large part of his output through the 1920s and ’30s. In the 1940s he produced a substantial number of portraits and paintings on religious themes, including murals and stained glass commissions. His 1942 painting The Eternal Christ, depicting Christ on a battlefield, was hugely popular in the climate of World War II and millions of copies were produced.
Born in Mexico City, Mario Cooper was raised in Los Angeles where he attended the Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute. He subsequently studied at the Grand Central School of Art and Columbia University in New York under Pruett Carter and Harvey Dunn, among others. He worked in an engraving house and as art director for Lord and Taylor before receiving his first illustration job from Collier’s, and his work also appeared in Woman’s Home Companion, Cosmopolitan, and The American Weekly. Cooper’s emotionally charged compositions are marked by impeccable modeling and strong contours. He taught at the Grand Central School of Art, Columbia University, the National Academy, the Art Students League, and the City College of New York. He was also interested in sculpture, executing a number of public commissions, and was an avid watercolorist, producing several books on technique.
Earl Cordrey was born September 6, 1902 in Piru, California. He grew up Los Angeles, and studied at the Chouinard School of Art in the early 1920s. He began his career as a freelance illustrator in the Sam Hyde Harris studio, and after moving to New York in 1927, studied at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City. Specializing in tightly rendered and highly posed romantic scenes, his covers and story illustrations, including those for F. Scott Fitzgerald, appeared in numerous magazines including Cosmopolitan, Redbook, The American Weekly, and Collier’s in the 1930s and ’40s. He also created post cards of the Stork Club and other high profile commissions outside of periodical illustration. In 1942, he moved back to Southern California and in addition to his ongoing career as an illustrator, worked as an art director and designed the logo for Palm Springs Life magazine, the official seal for the city of Palm Spring, California, and actor William Holden’s Mount Kenyan Safari Club. He retired from commercial work in 1951, but continued to paint landscapes of the California and Mexico desert until his death in 1977. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators.
Stevan Dohanos was born in Lorain, Ohio. He attended the Cleveland School of Art, and cited Grant Wood and Edward Hopper as his greatest influences on his painting, which was rooted in the school of Social Realism. His first illustration appeared in McCall’s in 1934, marking the beginning of a lengthy, successful career. Often working in tempera, Dohanos’ style stood out in its serenity, the sculptural presence of intense, strong figures, and—most apparent relative to the frenetic drama favored by many of his contemporaries—his static, frieze-like compositions. He became famous for his The Saturday Evening Post covers, of which he contributed well over 100, and he was responsible for several of the “Don’t Talk” series of World War II propaganda posters. A two time victim of tuberculosis, he also created Christmas seal designs for the National Tuberculosis Association in addition to posters and designs for many charitable organizations. He designed numerous stamps for the U.S. Postal Service and in the 1960s was appointed chairman of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, which selected the artwork to appear on stamps. He was a member of the National Society of Mural Painters and the Society of Illustrators and was a founding faculty member of the Famous Artists School of Westport, Connecticut.
Born in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, John Falter studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League and Grand Central School of Art in New York. He began his illustrations at an early age, selling his first picture to Liberty when he was twenty. He worked for numerous magazines, but his most important body of work is a sustained group of over 200 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Falter’s early, seductively flamboyant style tightened up into the late 1930s, but throughout his characters display a warmth and affection toward one another, with a specialty being depictions of small-town life during the war years. He himself served in the Navy in World War II as a special artist and produced 180 war-related posters. After the war, he illustrated over 40 books for Reader’s Digest and did many portrait commissions, including those of Louis Armstrong and James Cagney. He later painted a series of historical subjects for the Bicentennial in 1976. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Players, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. In 1976 he was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
James Montgomery Flagg was born in Pelham Manor, New York. He began drawing at an early age, getting illustrations accepted for publication by the time he was twelve. By fourteen he was a contributing artist for Life, and the following year was on the staff of Judge. He studied in London and Paris, and upon returning to the US, prolifically produced illustrations for virtually every available market: books, magazine covers, political and humorous cartoons, advertising, and spot drawings. Flagg’s exuberant line and familiar cast of idealized young women were so immediately recognizable as to become firmly ingrained in the popular consciousness. In addition to magazine work in Liberty, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and The National Weekly, among others, he was an in-demand portraitist throughout his career. He is, however, best remembered for the dozens of political posters he produced for the United States Army during World War I, including the most famous image of his career, the Uncle Sam “I Want YOU for U.S. Army” recruitment poster. Over 4 million copies of the image, originally created for a cover of Leslie’s Weekly, were printed during World War I, and it was re-used during World War II. As a highly visible public figure in an age when top illustrators were celebrities, Flagg also wrote weekly newspaper columns and in 1946 published his autobiography, Roses and Buckshot. In 1951, the frequent traveler documented his trips to Hollywood in a volume titled Celebrities. One of the most immediately recognizable names—and styles—in popular illustration, Flagg died practically forgotten.
William Foster, as he signed his work, was born in Cincinnati and studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy with Frank Duveneck, the Art Student’s League, the New York School of Art with Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase, and the Academie Julian in Paris. He supported himself early in his career by doing theatrical backgrounds for the Lee Lash Studios in New York. He sold his first illustration to Life in 1903 and had a successful career, with story illustrations appearing in Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s, Scribner’s, Liberty, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and Delineator, among others. Historical, adventure-laden subjects, rendered in Foster’s bravura oil painting technique visibly demonstrate his Ash Can School roots. He served in World War I, and continued his illustration career first in Chicago, then Los Angeles, where he settled. He also worked on a mural project for William Randolph Hearst and was a longtime and influential teacher.
John Gannam grew up in Chicago, where at the age of fourteen he was forced to leave school to work following his father’s death. Through a series of jobs he became a messenger for an engraving house, and soon wanted to follow in the footsteps of the men who did lettering and drawings for engravings. Rapidly and diligently educating himself, he began working for studios in Chicago and Detroit, and then moved on to New York, working on magazine illustrations and advertising campaigns. Gannam painted primarily in watercolor and was meticulous in capturing the effects of light and color, incorporating a lifelong study of lighting effects as the underpinning of his illustration work. His first manuscript was for Woman’s Home Companion, followed by other national magazines, including Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies’ Home Journal. He created a notable series of Degas-inspired nudes for bed and sheet manufacturers and daring compositions were a hallmark of all his work. He was a member of the American Artists’ Professional League, the American Watercolor Society, the Society of Illustrators, and on the faculty and board of directors of the Danbury Academy of Arts. In 1981, he was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
An engineering student, Edwin Georgi volunteered as a Pilot in the U.S. Air Force when World War I broke out. After the war, he worked as a paste-up man for an advertising agency art department, beginning his training as an illustrator under artist René Clarke. His early illustrations were done primarily for advertising campaigns clients such as Paper Co., Ford Mercury, Brooks Brothers, and Yardley & Co. Georgi’s most recognizable subjects, which he excelled at depicting, were beautiful women, modeled with intricate hatching and keyed up color. His work appeared in numerous magazines including Woman’s Home Companion, Redbook, McCall’s, Cosmopolitan, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Collier’s, and The Saturday Evening Post. He worked for most of his life in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Jules Gotlieb was a native New Yorker and studied at the National Academy School of Fine Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy at Chester Springs, and the Art Students League under George Bridgman and Harvey Dunn; he later taught at the League from 1932 to 1934. Gotlieb specialized in illustrating historical scenes, often featuring exotic locales. As reference, he was an intrepid world traveler and amassed a substantial reference library. He specialized in single-color images of tender scenes done in a glowingly transparent watercolor, and his work appeared in virtually all the largest publications, including Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, The American Weekly, Woman’s Home Companion, Liberty, and This Week. He also illustrated several books throughout his career.
Frederick Gruger was born in Philadelphia, and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Maxfield Parrish and William Glackens. He worked for many publishers and advertisers, including the Philadelphia Ledger and The Century, though he is most remembered for over forty years of story illustrations in Saturday Evening Post. The majority of Gruger’s illustrations were rendered in black and white, due to period cost restrictions for color reproduction. Gruger made his tonal drawings with Wolff pencil over washes, creating rich contrasts and modeling, dramatically lit and composed, drawing on inexpensive cardboard used by newspapers for mounting silver prints, which became known as “Gruger board.” He was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1981. Five original Gruger drawings are housed in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis.
Pete Hawley is known for his advertising illustration in the 1940s and ’50s, dominated by particularly lush and assertively attractive young women. He began an extended series of illustrations for Jantzen in 1943, which built on the company’s longstanding cheesecake tradition by past artists such as McClelland Barclay, Alberto Vargas, and George Petty. The company’s main product was clothing for active young women and men, running the gamut from buoyant beachwear to girdles and form-fitting sweaters. In Hawley’s hands, these were all donned by the requisite wholesomely seductive young ladies, often in increasingly acrobatic and anatomically extreme group poses. His style was lush, but the result was strangely antiseptic, even automaton-like, a bizarre flamboyance achieved from the marriage of technical drawing precision and suggestive innuendo. He also did ads for numerous other companies and they appeared in Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Glamour, Junior Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Seventeen.
Born in Superior, Wisconsin, Wilmot Emerton Heitland studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He won the Colarossi traveling scholarship in 1913 and attended the Académie Colarossi in Paris with Harvey Dunn and Walter Biggs, and the Art Students League in New York. Heitland worked primarily in watercolor, a medium he made glow with rich intensity. His work was first published in Collier’s in 1922, and subsequently appeared in many publications, including Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Woman’s Home Companion, and Delineator. His paintings and line drawings, dominated by tension-filled romantic scenes and period pieces in drawing rooms, consistently display a fondness for vivid palettes with occasional exuberantly patterned backgrounds.
R. John Holmgren was born in St. Paul, Minnesota where he studied at the St. Paul Art Institute before going to New York in 1919 to study at the Art Students League under C. O. Woodbury, George Bridgman, Robert Henri, and Frederick Gruger. Beginning his career in 1923, his colorful illustrations immediately stood out in their devotion to the social mores of youth, with the requisite emphasis on shapely young women. His work appeared in such magazines as Life, Collier’s, and Judge, and he produced advertising campaigns for Chevrolet, Ford, Sanka Coffee, Alcoa, White Rock, Cunard Lines, and some wonderful comic strip ads for Fletcher’s Castoria. A member of the Society of Illustrators, he was president from 1941 to 1944, and was also a member of the Dutch Treat Club and the Artists and Writers club.
George Howe ran away from his hometown of Salzburg, Austria at the age of fourteen, traveling first to the United States and then to France where he studied for two years. He returned to America and worked all manner of menial jobs until realizing that he wanted to illustrate for magazines. He painted primarily with watercolor and his story illustrations are marked by a dramatic effectively bold and high-contrast style. His work appeared in such magazines as Collier’s, American Weekly, Woman’s Home Companion, Elks, and Good Housekeeping. One of his last jobs was a group of posters for The Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Born in New York City, George Hughes studied at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. Early in his career, he did fashion drawings and design work in the automobile field in Detroit. He was one of the illustrators who pioneered what has come to be termed a “sitcom” approach to the magazine cover, creating intricate images that prompted readers to linger over their details and implied narratives. He painted covers for The Saturday Evening Post, beginning his long relationship with that publication in 1949, and editorial illustrations for the Post, McCall’s, Woman’s Day, The American Weekly, Reader’s Digest, and Cosmopolitan. While living in Arlington, Vermont, he was a neighbor and colleague of fellow illustrators Norman Rockwell, John Atherton, and Mead Schaeffer.
Wendell Kling was a story illustrator for The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, The American Weekly, and Liberty in the 1940s and ’50s, working in watercolor and gouache, and specializing in adventure and pretty girls. His paintings are defined by a loose, active brushwork, with an emphasis on movement and emotion—as well as plenty of leg. He also did US Army and Air Force recruiting posters during World War II and into the 1950s, published in Life. During the 1960s, he illustrated adventure and mystery books for young adults. Kling was a member of The Society of Illustrators and resided in Bronxville, New York.
William Andrew Loomis was born in Syracuse, New York, and studied with George Bridgman and Frank DuMont at the Art Students League. Moving to Chicago, he took classes at the Chicago Art Institute and began his illustration career, which was put on hold while he served in World War I. Following the war, he worked for a few advertising studios before forming his own as a freelancer, thus beginning a lengthy career as an illustrator for magazines and advertising posters. His paintings are immediately notable for their lush style wed with compositional rigor. Loomis is perhaps best remembered for a series of art instruction books that continue to be widely influential, including Fun with a Pencil, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth, Drawing Heads and Hands, Creative Illustration, and Successful Drawing. He was a long-time instructor at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1999.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Harry Morse Meyers studied at Tulane University and the Art Students League with Harvey Dunn. He had a long career as a magazine illustrator, working a great deal for Collier’s. His work is comprised of simplified imagery; strong blocks of solid color, and strikingly bold compositions with negligible backgrounds. He frequently used the appealing narrative devise of insetting smaller images done in a reductive style to offset and provide further contextual elaboration for the main illustration. Advertising campaigns took advantage of his attractive women, and period story illustrations were a specialty, providing the artist ample opportunity to make use of his extensive collection of antiques as reference material.
Born in Chicago, Frederic Kimball Mizen attended Smith’s Art Academy and his first job was with Gunning System, a predecessor to General Outdoor Advertising. He took evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, where his teachers included John Vanderpoel, DeForrest Shook, and Walter Marshall Clute. His work in watercolor and oil is remarkable for its rich palette, and his subjects ranged from wholesome images found on his Saturday Evening Post covers and advertising campaigns to crime thrillers. He became a major figure in billboard advertising, with many of these paintings also used as magazine advertisements, and is most remembered for his illustrations for the Coca-Cola Company, appearing ubiquitously in newspapers, magazines and billboards. He also illustrated fiction for Cosmopolitan and The Saturday Evening Post. Later he founded and taught through his own school, the Mizen Academy of Art.
Thelma Mortimer was a mainstay illustrator of fashion spreads and advertisements for Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Home Companion in the 1930s. She also contributed illustrations to fashion-oriented fiction. Her women were typically elongated and jovial, and befitting her subject matter, represented the height of accessible fashion for the readership. Delineated with sharp contours in soft colors and painted in clean watercolor washes, the totality is quite charming.
Carl Mueller’s advertising and story illustrations appeared in the 1930s and ’40s in Collier’s, Redbook, College Humor, McCall’s, and The American Weekly. Frequently action-packed, his watercolors of lively young women and dapper men display an enthusiastic immediacy and vitality.
Al Parker was born in St. Louis, Missouri and studied at Washington University’s School of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1928. After opening a fledgling advertising agency with fellow students and beginning to work for national magazines, Parker moved to New York City in 1935. A cover illustration for House Beautiful won a national competition and garnered Parker jobs producing illustrations and covers for Chatelaine, Collier’s, Woman’s Home Companion, and Ladies’ Home Journal. In December of 1938, Parker began a thirteen-year stint of illustrating a series of fifty hugely popular “Mother and Daughter” covers for the Ladies' Home Journal: dressed alike and paired in an evocatively designed action scene, the first cover created an overnight fashion sensation. Successive covers enjoyed unrivaled appeal, chronicling the evolution of an idealized American family as it prepared for war, homecoming, and rebirth (i.e., the baby boom). Parker was soon illustrating for countless magazines including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated, Pictorial Review, Town and County, and Vogue, constantly reinventing his endlessly snappy style and thematic approach, while experimenting with new media in order to keep his throngs of imitators stymied. In cooperation with the art director, he secretly illustrated an entire issue of Cosmopolitan employing different pseudonyms, styles, and media for each story. Parker is one of the select few illustrators whose personal touch immediately jumps out at the viewer, through crisp rendering and compositions not only bold, but positively idiosyncratic. Known as the Dean of Illustrators, Parker was one of the founding faculty members for the Famous Artists School and was elected to the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame in 1965.
Born in Minneapolis, Herbert Andrew Paus was first employed as a cartoonist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He enrolled in the Fine Arts School in Minneapolis to become an illustrator and afterward found employment at a Chicago art studio. He later moved to New York and became a freelance illustrator and his style, which showcased a vivid palette and bold compositions, led him to do poster design during World War I to support the war effort. His iconic sensibility was also put to excellent use in illustrations and covers for such magazines as Woman’s Home Companion, The American Magazine, The Youth’s Companion, Collier’s, and Popular Science Monthly, with whom he had an exclusive cover contract. His interiors employed the dominant single-color pendant approach and were populated by fashionably well-dressed couples. In 1913 he designed the stage set for The Betrothal by Maeterlinck, and also did book illustrations such as The Children’s Blue Bird by Madame Maurice Maeterlinck and painted for advertisers such as Goodyear, General Motors, Hart, and Victor Records.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Perry Peterson studied art through the Federal Schools’ correspondence course and then briefly at the Chicago Art Institute. He did catalogue illustrations for Montgomery Ward in Chicago, automobile drawings in Detroit, and advertising work for the Byron Musser Studio in New York City before his first story illustrations appeared in Liberty in 1942. By this time, years of technical training in a variety of media gave Peterson the expertise necessary for his bravura handling of gouache and watercolor. Peterson illustrated diverse subject matter from romance to adventure and noir crime fiction, all punctuated by an immediacy and explosive emotional charge. Following the work for Liberty, his illustrations frequently appeared in Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Home Companion, Collier’s, The Country Gentleman, The Saturday Evening Post, and others. He was killed in an accidental fire in his studio in New York in 1958.
Born in Muo Dalmatia, Yugoslavia, Ray Prohaska came to America as a youth and studied at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. His first illustration was published in the Delineator in 1930 and he worked for numerous advertisers and magazines on story illustrations, including McCall’s, Woman’s Home Companion, The American Weekly, and Pictorial Review. His loose watercolor style was pleasantly welcoming and favored an open-ended inclusiveness rather than detailed specificity. He later illustrated the books Eddie No Name (1963) and Who’s Afraid (1963), and authored the book A Basic Course in Design (1971). He also painted murals ands taught at Washington and Lee University from 1964 to 1969 and at Wake Forest University from 1969 to 1975.
Robert O. Reid illustrated numerous covers and interiors for Collier’s in the 1930s and 40s. His work also appeared in Cosmopolitan, and he did a good deal of advertising work for The General Tire, Oldsmobile automobiles, Old Gold cigarettes, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and Sealed Power Piston Rings. Both his story and advertising illustrations centered almost exclusively on beautiful doe-eyed women in comically titillating situations. His cartoony style is marked by a deft watercolor modeling within a rich, glowing palette. As the 1930s progressed, his rendering and compositions became more assured, reaching a sustained brilliance in regular Collier’s covers, which are stunning in both design and execution.
Alexander Ross came to the United States from Dunfermline, Scotland when he was three. Wanting to be an industrial designer, he studied under Robert Lepper at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Ross worked at Rayart Studios and Pitt Studios in Pittsburg before moving to the Charles E. Cooper Studio in New York. He sold his first cover to Good Housekeeping in 1942, and this paved the way for 130 more over the next twelve years. His illustrations also appeared in Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies’ Home Journal, and Cosmopolitan, and he illustrated several books, among them Saints: Adventures in Courage (1963). Ross was one of a handful of illustrators whose work became synonymous with modern stylistic approaches, marked by endlessly inventive, bold compositions that left behind the theatrical staging of the early 20th century, and an inspired palette and light touch that swept away that previous period’s heavily shadowed emotion. Ross was awarded a Master of Arts honorary degree by Boston University in 1953.
Hy Rubin, as he signed his work, was a ubiquitous contributor to Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s in the 1930s and ’40s. His firmly grounded protagonists and dense modeling provide the required verisimilitude for reader immersion, particularly for the depictions of adventures in exotic locales and violent encounters that he excelled. He went on to illustrate numerous covers on similar themes for the paperback book market in the 1940s and ’50s.
Leslie Saalburg was largely self-taught, leaving the Art Students League after only three months. He learned his craft by working in art studios until he was able to begin freelance illustrations for Esquire, Collier’s, Vogue, Town and Country, Vanity Fair, Woman’s Home Companion, Holiday, and numerous other publications. Saalburg worked directly from life, building up detailed sketches into his final work, which was uniformly small-scale and maintained a strong sense of spontaneity. Founded on solid draftsmanship and referencing a past elegance, his dashing watercolor washes propagated modernity’s optimistic, yet rational, progress. His advertising clients included Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Corporation, Cannon Mills and Hiram Walker Distillers.
Rudolph Frederick Schabelitz lived and worked in New York, and his story illustrations were published in magazines such as Redbook and Cosmopolitan in the 1930s and ’40s. He specialized in tension-filled, upper-class interiors, the sheen of expensive clothing and drapery reflected in his appropriately lush painting style.
Born in Freedom Plains, New York, Mead Schaeffer studied at Pratt Institute as well as with Harvey Dunn and Dean Cornwell, and his early work’s dashingly decisive brushstrokes, heavy impasto, and interlocking compositions bring to mind Cornwell. Schaeffer started illustrating for magazines in his twenties and began a series of illustrated classic books that included The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, Typee, and Moby Dick. Painting covers for The Saturday Evening Post allowed him to travel throughout the country as research for regional themes that would reverberate on a national level; a longtime resident of Arlington, Vermont, he was a close friend of Norman Rockwell, with whom he traveled. During World War II, Schaeffer painted covers for the Post of American soldiers, and to research these covers he rode aboard a submarine, a Coast Guard patrol boat, and various aircraft. These paintings were later exhibited in more than 90 cities in the United States and Canada to promote the war effort. Schaeffer won the Salmagundi Club’s Shaw Prize in 1930 and a Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1944.
Harold von Schmidt was born in Alameda, California in 1893 and orphaned at the age of five. After a year in an orphanage, he went to live with his grandfather, a veteran of the Wild West era. As a youth he worked as a cowhand and a construction worker and in 1920 and 1924 he was on the United States Olympic Rugby team. He began his art studies at the California School of Arts and Crafts while still in high school. He moved to New York City in 1924 and entered the Grand Central Art School. In 1927, Schmidt moved to Westport, Connecticut, and his illustrations of the period appeared primarily in Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, Liberty, Saturday Evening Post, and Sunset. Devoting himself to interiors rather than covers, his oil paintings tended toward the romantic, focusing on testosterone-laden depictions of the West and all manner of battles, historical and contemporary, which he greatly preferred to the comparatively genteel imagery that represented the province of the cover. His work also appeared in a few books, notably comparatively deluxe edition of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop (1929), for which he spent two years creating sixty illustrations. Much honored throughout his career, Schmidt was of the founding faculty for the Famous Artists School in 1948. He was awarded the first gold medal by the trustees of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1968.
Oscar Frederick Schmidt attended Pratt Institute the Art Students League, where he studied under George Bridgman. After serving in World War I, he traveled extensively around the world. His story illustrations were published in magazines such as Redbook, Liberty, and The Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s and ’40s, and were done in vibrant charcoal, watercolor, and oil paint, always with an emphasis on capturing the moment of excitement and heightened with impressive lighting effects.
Thornton Drake Skidmore, or T.D. Skidmore, as he signed his work, was born in Brooklyn, New York. A student of Howard Pyle, he began his career as a magazine illustrator in the 1910s, working into the 1940s. Publications featuring covers and interiors by Skidmore include Collier’s, Nash’s Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Liberty, Woman’s World, The American Magazine, Pictorial Review, and Good Housekeeping. He excelled at scenes of well-heeled, fashionably dressed couples rendered in a flattened graphic style and featuring bold contours. Skidmore employed a variety of media to achieve diverse linear effects in his interiors, many deftly spot-lit with a single color, common to interiors of the period.
Roy Frederic Spreter briefly attended the Art Institute in Chicago, but received most of his practical training from Joseph Chenoweth, Philip Lyford, Leopold Seyffert, and other members of that city’s Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art. Spreter’s oil paintings are aglow with lovely evocations of healthy vitality, and he worked primarily for advertising campaigns, including those of Camay, Campbell’s Soup, Maxwell House, and Bon Ami, and excelled as an illustrator for billboards. Spreter also found a great deal of work doing story illustrations for Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion, and other women’s magazines, where his delicate depictions of young ladies and children were quite popular. He was a member of the Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators in New York.
Born in Chicago, Benjamin Albert Stahl’s interest in becoming an artist was fueled at an early age by trips to the Chicago Art Institute and the Marshall Field Art Galleries. A seventeen he began his career as an errand boy and apprentice in an art studio, and within five years gained employment as an artist at one of Chicago’s top studio. In 1937 he was commissioned to illustrate a nautical story for The Saturday Evening Post. This was the beginning of his career as an illustrator for both advertising campaigns and numerous magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Woman’s Home Companion, where the rugged, vigorous surfaces and swirling compositions of his paintings stood out. Stahl also created illustrations for the Bible and wrote and illustrated the book, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1965), which was later made into a movie by Disney Studios. He designed a Museum of the Cross in Sarasota, Florida, for which he also painted the Stations of the Cross. He also created an educational TV series on the art of painting called Journey into Art with Ben Stahl, comprised of 26 half hour episodes of painting demonstrations and lectures. While living in Mexico he became interested in the Old West, and began a series of paintings on the subject. He taught at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and was one of the founding faculty members of the Famous Artists Schools in Westport, Connecticut. In 1979, he was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
Raised in Idaho, Herbert Morton Stoops attended Utah State College and worked as a staff artist for the San Francisco Call and the Chicago Tribune. After serving in World War I, he began doing wide-ranging interior and cover illustrations for the adventure fiction of Blue Book. He painted the monthly cover for thirteen years, and contributed numerous black-and-white dry-brush illustrations under the pen name Jeremy Cannon. His heavy modeling and active, rough brushstrokes were perfectly suited to the types of adventures and exotic period pieces he frequently rendered. He also illustrated for Collier’s, Pictorial Review, This Week, and Cosmopolitan, and his painting Anno Domini won the Isador Medal at the National Academy Exhibition in 1940. He served as president of the Artists Guild in New York.
Haddon Hubbard Sundblom was born in Muskegon, Michigan to a Swedish-speaking family of first-generation Nordic immigrants. After studying at the Chicago Art Institute and the American Academy of Art, he got a job apprenticing for the Charles Everett Johnson Studio in Chicago. In 1925, he established his own studio in that city, attracting many of the most talented illustrators of that and subsequent generations, which came to be known as the “Sundblom circle.” His buttery painting style conveyed jovial warmth and well-scrubbed good health, and is immediately striking and recognizable, a quality perfectly suited to product recognition—and Sundblom is best remembered for his advertising work. His most enduring campaign surrounded the Santa Claus imagery he painted for The Coca-Cola Company in the 1930s, which immediately became, and has remained, hugely popular. Sundblom’s depictions of Claus were so resonant the erroneous assumption was born that he created the modern image of the character, whose appearance, deriving from Thomas Nast’s 19th century drawings, was actually relatively codified prior to the advertising campaign’s far-reaching exposure. Sundblom’s paintings for Coca-Cola are still used to this day, as is his iconic image of the Quaker Oats man, painted in 1957. Other major clients included Palmolive, Proctor & Gamble, and Maxwell House Coffee. Sundblom began a series of beautiful girls and glamour pieces for calendars in the 1930s and he is recognized as a major influence on many well known pin-up artists, notably Gil Elvgren.
A native of Sacramento, California, Dan Sweeney began his career doing illustrations for the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to his long career as a newspaper illustrator, he painted regular watercolor story illustrations for Collier’s in the 1930s, traveling around the world to research his images of high adventure. He also painted movie and travel posters, including many for steamship lines.
Artist Arthur Szyk (1894–1951) earned an international reputation during his lifetime for his richly detailed illustrations and illuminations of Jewish themes. Szyk was a skillful caricaturist and a passionate crusader for political causes. During World War II, Szyk (pronounced “Shick”) devoted his energies to defeating Nazi Germany and its allies and calling the world’s attention to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews. His incisive wartime cartoons and caricatures filled the pages of American newspapers and magazines, earning him a reputation as a “one-man army” in the Allied cause.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donald Teague studied at the Art Students League under George Bridgman and Frank DuMond. After serving in World War I, he studied in England and upon returning to America was helped along in his career by Dean Cornwell. He worked for The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, specializing in Western themes and plotting and researching his paintings meticulously, employing props from Hollywood studios near his home in Southern California. In addition to signing his work with his own name, Teague also used the pseudonym Edwin Dawes. He won numerous prizes and awards, including the Gold Medal of Honor from the American Watercolor Society in 1953.
Harry Laverne Timmins was born in Wilsonville, Nebraska, and studied at the Art Institute Chicago. He worked with multiple media—including ink, watercolor, and gouache—and subjects over his lengthy career. His illustrations were featured in publications including Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman's Home Companion, Pictorial Review, Cosmopolitan, The American Magazine, This Week, Collier’s, and the Canadian publications Maclean's and the Toronto Star Weekly. Timmons was the co-founder of the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he taught for several years in the 1920s, and a member of the Society of Illustrators, the American Federation of Arts, and the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago.
Weldon Trench contributed story illustrations to American Weekly in the 1930s, including a good number to accompany mystery stories by Agatha Christie. His pen-and-ink washes were frequently reproduced in a single-color and often outlined in an elegant hand-drawn framing border. Trench’s illustrations were drastically composed with deft use of spotted black, perfectly reflecting— and heightening—the suspense of the story.
Jon Whitcomb was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma and grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated as an English major from Ohio State University. While there, Whitcomb began illustrating for student publications and also painted movie posters for a theater in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating, he began his career as an illustrator, continuing to paint poster designs in addition to other advertising work. In 1934 he moved to New York City and founded the Cooper Studio with Al Cooper. Whitcomb found his unique voice in the medium of gouache, increasing in prominence over oil for illustrators in the 1940s. His airy compositions and saturated palette were instantly recognizable, marked by a dramatic foregrounding of a figure, most frequently urbane young women, with an active focus on beautiful faces and reductive backgrounds. Highly popular, his work appeared in Collier’s, Good Housekeeping, and numerous other publications. Whitcomb served in World War II and was assigned as a combat artist for the invasions of Tinian, Saipan, and Peleliu. After the war, Whitcomb produced a series of features about Hollywood stars for Cosmopolitan, called “On Location with Jon Whitcomb.” He continued to produce story and cover illustrations for magazines including McCall’s and Playboy, and wrote two children’s books, Pom Pom’s Christmas (1960), and Coco, the Far-Out Poodle (1963), and a book on glamour and fashion, All About Girls (1962). He was one of the founding faculty members of the Famous Artists School.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Coby Whitmore, as he signed his work, was educated at the Dayton Art Institute before serving as an apprentice in the studio of Haddon Sundblom and Edwin Henry in Chicago while attending evening classes at the Chicago Art Institute. After his apprenticeship he worked for the Chicago Herald Examiner and the Charles Jensen studio in Cincinnati. He moved to New York and had a longtime stint with the Charles E. Cooper Studio and also began illustrating for magazines including, McCall’s, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Woman’s Day. A major illustrator from the1940s through the ’60s, he is most remembered for his inventive compositional and narrative approaches to themes regarding the relationships between young men and women, marked by lighthearted nervousness, anxiety, frustration, and ultimately, tenderness. Whitmore’s decidedly soft, modern palette remains strikingly original, as do his thoughtful depictions of beautiful, stylish women. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1978.
Mortimer Wilson hailed from Lincoln, Nebraska and studied at the Art Students League while pursuing an early career as a portraitist. He also directed summer theater productions and taught painting before taking up story illustration as a way to earn a living. He excelled at highly individualized characters, nuanced expression, and telling details, rendered through lush oil paint. His work appeared in Saturday Evening Post, American Weekly, and Woman’s Home Companion, and he did paintings for numerous advertising clients, such as Maxwell House Coffee and Woodbury Facial Soap.
George de Zayas was born in 1895 in Mexico City. He did a good deal of work for Collier’s in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as book illustrations for How to Get Rid of a Woman, by Edward Anthony (1928) and Stranger Than Man, by Carl Kulberg (1940). Rooted in the John Held School of graphic cartooning, Zayas’ work is flat, heavily patterned, and appealingly playful.
Falk, Peter H., Audrey M. Lewis, Georgia Kuchen, and Veronika Roessler, eds. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Newly rev. and enl. ed. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.
Getty Union List of Artist Names (ULAN). Accessed April 3, 2017. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/ulan/index.html.
Illustration no. 2 (2002): 34–43.
Peng, Leif. “That’s Pete Hawley!” Blog. Today’s Inspiration, January 9, 2006. http://todaysinspiration.blogspot.com/2006/01/thats-pete-hawley.html.
Pitz, Henry C., Bob Crozier, and Norman Rockwell. 200 Years of American Illustration. New York: Random House, 1977.
Pohlad, Mark B., “The Man Behind the Masks: W.T. Benda.” Illustration no. 13 (2005): 4–35.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ed. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Washington, D.C: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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The Charles Craver Collection contains Craver's original artwork and tear sheets.
The Walt Reed Illustration Archive contains original artwork by W. T. Benda.
Ermoyan, Arpi. Famous American Illustrators. New York: Published for the Society of Illustrators by Rotovision, SA ; Distributorsto the trade in the United States, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1997.
Reed, Walt. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. 3rd ed. New York: The Society of Illustrators : Distributed by Watson-Guptill, 2001.
This finding aid was entered into Archon by Jolie Braun in July 2012.
This finding aid was updated by Andrea Degener in April 2017.
This collection is comprised of tearsheets that define the stylistic, thematic, and technical qualities of early to mid-20th century popular American commercial magazine illustration. The collection thoroughly and deliberately examines the work of the most celebrated artists of that time.
Selections from the collection have been scanned and are listed in the Box and Folder List of the of the finding aid.