Wednesday, November 30, 2011

As the Story Goes

Once again, a little something for Pat Ann and Larry:

Wallace Tripp — St. Dunstan — um, 1970s?

A Father's Obsession

Here is a double page from an Argosy magazine of 1952 illustrating The Rocket Man, a short story excised from Ray Bradbury's book The Illustrated Man, published the previous year. Ostensibly this story inspired a song by the Spotniks that in turn inspired Bernie Taupin and Elton John to create their song Rocket Man.

A father's obsession—when you're there, you want to be here, when you're here you want to be out there.

James Bingham — Argosy magazine — February 1952

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forward! They are Ours!

Frank Schoonover, great American illustrator, didn't quite reach the level of stardom that superstar illustrator N.C. Wyeth did. Schoonover's work looked a lot like Wyeth's, undoubtedly because they were both students of master illustrator Howard Pyle and were schooled with the same great illustrative principles, becoming part of the famous Brandywine School.

Prolific like Wyeth, when Schoonover died at the age of 94 he had over two thousand illustrations to his credit. Joan of Arc was one of his classic subjects for a book in 1918, shown here with some illustrations from that book — and just because I like it so much, I've placed my favorite on top.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Something About an Aviatrix

There's something about an aviatrix of the 20s and 30s that makes my spirit take wing.

Above and below, Ruth Elder was an actress who aspired to be a female Lindbergh, and made a good attempt at it.

Below, Ruth Elder's defining film role in 1928:


I really like Frank Thorne's later work. Besides the focus on battling babes, Thorne has a graphic design quality that is unique and flavorful. His comic book claim to fame really began with his Red Sonja treatment, moving on to Ghita and others. I'll come back to Thorne's work on a later post, but in the meantime some flavorful comic pinups:

Below, an assemblage of Sonjas. Beginning on the left with Robert E. Howard's original character, envisioned by Roy Krenkel, from a different setting than when Barry Smith (with Roy Thomas) brought her to Conan's saga—and then was fully developed (ahem!) by Frank Thorne.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dream or Nightmare

The content of this image could either be an architect's dream or an architect's nightmare, but either way it's a beautiful rendering.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi — 1750 preliminary rendering for his print
Parte di Ampio Magnifico Porto

Page 2000

Prince Valiant was the only comic strip that I know of that kept track of how many pages it had published, week by week. This was page 2000 of Hal Foster's epic Sunday strip. Published well after Foster retired and laden with iconic Foster artwork from the past, it was quite a treat to see in the midst of John Cullen Murphy's run on the strip.

Hal Foster — Prince Valiant page 2000 — June 8, 1975

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Decadent Deco

Another view of women from 1915, by my favorite decadent Deco artist — Georges Barbier. The elegant woman on the right appears to have been spanked recently, or am I paying too much attention here?

Georges Barbier — La Vie Parisienne magazine — 1915

Can someone, knowledgeable in French, translate the border heading? Google translator is not making sense of it.

Update: I appreciate hearing from all you folks with translations. Coming straight from Jacques in France, this seems to be the final word:

The sentence in Georges Barbier's illustration is, in french:
"il est mieux de deviner que de voir",
which could be translated as :
"Guessing is better than seeing"
or as
" It is better to guess than to see".
—Your choice.—

Losing Time

Another view of the 1915 period of the last 2 posts.

Enoch Bolles — Judge magazine — March 20, 1915

American Beauty

Another Harrison Fisher American beauty:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grand Era

Here is another beautiful example from the grand era, when editors honored the beautiful cover art they published by not slapping text blurbs all around it. The blurb along the bottom, advertising editorial content, adds just enough weight and balance to justify itself.

Not to mention that it was a time when women were being portrayed with a new balance, one of strength of character with cultivated femininity.

What a grand era! What a beautiful cover!

Harrison Fisher — Saturday Evening Post — June 19, 1915

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all of Blogdom!

I'm thankful we have days like Thanksgiving.

J.C. Leyendecker — American Weekly — 1940

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now Showing

Great golden age illustration now showing at The Pictorial Arts Journal, from a version of Spenser's Faerie Queene.

Frank Papé — The Gateway to Spenser

Frank Papé — The Gateway to Spenser

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lyrical, Laughable, Lovable

Gulliver's Travels, the 1939 full-length feature cartoon, was Paramount's response to Disney's Snow White feature. It had some interesting animation techniques combining rotoscoping for Gulliver, and stretch and squash for the lilliputians (25,000 of 'em!).

It was just one of so many landmark movies to come out in 1939.


James Abbott McNeill Whistler is hugely famous for his Arrangement in Grey and Black (his mom), but I much prefer his Harmony in Pink and Grey (Lady Meux).

Whistler — Harmony in Pink and Grey (detail) — 1881-82

Monday, November 21, 2011

New, Improved, Rotten Circus

Yow, wow! A HUGE tip o' the hat to Glen Story for shipping over a scan of the complete spread by Wally Wood that I talked about last post! It's an extravaganza of art from an amazing artist. There's the Marx Bros and Jerry Lewis and Plastic Man and Melvin Cowznofski and the whole furshlinger crowd!

Thanks Glen! What a great community of bloggers we have. Check out Glen's beautiful images on his tumblr site here.

Wally Wood — Mad Magazine #41, pages 26-27

Fabulous Panorama

While wandering through my pictorial morgue, I sometimes find that I filed an item years ago even though it wasn't complete.

Here's a fabulous incomplete panorama by Wally Wood from one of the early magazine format Mads. The missing section continues off to the left but that doesn't prevent me from marveling at the tremendous talent that Woody brought to bear on this scene.

Each figure is fully rendered and fits proportionally and naturally into this forced perspective birds-eye view. I recognize Richard Nixon and Joe E. Brown amongst the clowns. This is the sort of scene that people refer to when they say, "it looked like something out of Mad Magazine!"

I've posted this as a very large scan, and I hope it comes across that way. If you try downloading and then opening it, you should be able to zero in on detail. If any of you Mad fans have the whole scene, I hope you'll consider sending a large scan of it over here.

Wally Wood — "A Mad Circus"

Municipal Airports

Another elegant poster utilizing an elegant simple palette.

circa 1936

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This is a magnificent and stately poster created in the neo-deco 80s.

Nicholas Gaetano — Geo — ca 1983

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Camels and Coffee

Many many people love pin-up art, and there is much of it (pin-up art, that is) for people to love. The golden age of pin-ups (1930?-1950?) was the best (in my opinion), I think because of a form of innocent sexuality. The nudity is removed from reality and the spirit of more innocent times is swirled into the paint.

Compare the work below, all created by the same artist, Fritz Willis. The top image is one of his earlier paintings and is just this side of being a cartoon for Esquire or Playboy, with stylized features and a golden aura. Below that is Willis' later work, from the Walter Foster art instruction book by Willis. The models are sophisticated women with a 60s' Las Vegas showgirl look about them. They're nicely done, but to my old and weary eyes they are commercial works trying to be fine art, whereas the first one is happy to be just a beautiful pin-up on a barrack's wall.

Fritz Willis — Camels and Coffee

Fritz Willis — cover art to the Walter T. Foster book, The Nude

Fritz Willis — sketch from his book, and some good advice

Fritz Willis — Chianti

Smooth Blend

This post is dedicated to Mudwerks at sloth unleashed, for his smooth blend of music and imagery.

Roger Huyssen — Down Home Music

Roger Huyssen — Musical Treats

Friday, November 18, 2011

Earthy Yet Ethereal

Klimt's work is earthy yet ethereal, decorative yet symbolic.

Gustav Klimt — Water Serpents II — 1904-07

The Pedestrian

An illustration for Ray Bradbury's short story The Pedestrian:

Joseph Mugnaini — The Pedestrian

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Look for QUALITY Bad Yolks!

Elwood Smith's work is always a hoot, evocative of an older era.

Elwood H. Smith — self-promo page

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Intentionally or not (probably not), this energetic painting, by George Petty intended for the 1965 Ice Capades, utilizes techniques similar to the Leyendecker brothers — a bit of the modeling of J.C. in the hair and fabric, and the spicy carnival coloring and staging of F.X.

The painting is pure Petty of the 60s, but it revitalizes techniques from decades before.

George Petty — Ice Capades — 1965

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Back when Life was more flamboyant, F.X. Leyendecker didn't rival the stylized brushstrokes of his brother J.C., but he was nearly his equal in stylized design.

F. X. Leyendecker — Life — Rivals — September 1, 1921

Somewhat Candid

The sort of photo portrait that I like, somewhat candid and beautiful.

Michael Childers — Brooke Shields — 1981

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dolphin Danger

Did anybody get a chance to see Dolphin Tale in the last few months? We saw it with our daughter and it was an okay film, demonstrating the danger of dolphins being caught in fishermen's traps. Who knew there was an awareness of such dolphin danger way back in 1899, which is shown in this graphic from Jugend magazine . . . oh and I guess a similar danger for water nymphs, though they may indeed be extinct by now.

Jugend — 1899

Fine Line

There's a fine line between vanity and good grooming. Without mirrors most of us would be total slobs, but I guess it's that lingering gaze of self-admiration that constitutes unabashed vanity.

George Randolph Barse — Toilet of a Zephyr — 1894

George Plank — Vanity — 1917

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Victorian Era Ink

Finding this Victorian era ink drawing was the inspiration for new 'Loose Leaf' designs over at The Pictorial Arts Journal.

Louis Chalon — Circe — 1888

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Carl Larsson's work was almost always sweet but almost never sugary.

Carl Larsson — Suzanne at the Piano —watercolor — ca 1917

Carl Larsson — Portrait d'une Petite Fille – 1885