Sunday, August 30, 2009

Terrific and Prolific

Herbert Paus was a terrific and prolific illustrator of the first third of the 20th century. His style was bold in composition, color, and rendering—poster-like in impact. He is not as well-known as he should be.


Howard Chaykin said...


I first saw this nearly forgotten giant's work at the New York Historical Society's bicentennial show, 200 YEARS OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION--one of the worst hung shows in my experience, a reality made acceptable by the sheer volume of material.

Paus' work leapt off the wall. Steranko referred to him as the Bob Peak of the 1920s, and it's more than apt. Paus was doing things with picture making, design, and color that nobody would even think about for nearly a quarter century.

Maybe an even more appropriate reference would be the Louis Armstrong of illustration. Like Armstrong, Paus seemed to come from out of nowhere, fully grown and completely realized, organizing space and layout in ways that were entirely brand new.

The Paus originals in my collection are among my most prized possessions--and when the old hankering to acquire new pieces comes over me, it's frequently over a Paus that's just become available.

Thanks for bringing this extraordinary artist to the site.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thanks Howard, I appreciate your validation.

Indeed, Paus is a true inspiration. It's been difficult finding his work beyond the obvious Popular Science covers. But it's out there and I'm dedicated enough to find it, to share.

If you, or anyone, would have any scans that I might share, that would be great-please email me, but I've still got a few of my own that I'll bring up one day soon.

I'm so glad to find fellow enthusiasts for this stuff.