Long ago Illustrators were the celebrity’s of their day, household names whose artwork sold magazines, books and products from household appliances to clothes to cars, in the same way that the endorsements of sports figures and actors sell products today. Now apart from Norman Rockwell the public, and a great many art students are unaware of the rich visual past that is the golden age of American Illustration.
Over the past few years there have been a steady stream of books being published about either half remembered or long forgotten illustrators. A reprint of a book on Dean Cornwell came out a few years back and a book on his mentor Harvey Dunn was published a short time ago. There was a book written about Norman Rockwell’s hero J.C. Leyendecker, also an exhibition and catalogue on the father of American illustration Howard Pyle. Robert Fawcett, known as the illustrator’s illustrator also got a book recently with a book on Albert Dorne, founder of the Famous Artist’s School, soon to come from the same publisher. Andrew Loomis’ how to draw books are finally being reprinted.
As excited as I have been about the works that have been published recently it is only scratching the surface of all the great work and artists that remain unknown or unremembered. It takes a bit of research but there is a wealth of images and information about illustrators to be found on line. There is also a great magazine that is published quarterly on American Illustration. The images I post bellow are both a wish list of the artists who I discovered in years ago while an art student along with artists whose work have been collected and printed.
Charles Edward Chambers
Edwin Austin Abbey
Frederic Rodrigo Gruger