Monday, March 20, 2023

Frank Quail, 1920s Automobile Advertising Illustrator

Frank Quail is another of those illustrators for whom information on the Internet is lacking.  One reason might be his name.  When surfing images, I usually get a large number of images of quails -- the birds.  Otherwise, the Frank Quail images that do pop up are of automobile ads he illustrated 1919-1928.

Did he do other kinds of illustration?  Probably, but for advertising of products besides cars.  Tracking down any such ads by Quail would involve more lengthy, tedious work than I'm willing to undertake.

In the mid-1920s when he did most of his important work, full-color advertisements in leading magazines used illustrations of cars rather than photographs.  That's because color photography technology was not up to the task (for example, Kodachrome film was not introduced until 1935).

Quail was fortunate to have Chrysler as a major client for the 1927 model year and slightly beyond.  By that time his skills for depicting cars and people in upscale settings yielded well-crafted illustrations.

That said, some of his work suggests he was influenced by Fred Cole, who I wrote about here in a post titled "Fred Cole's Suggestively Incomplete Car Illustrations."

After 1928, I don't know what became of Frank Quail.

Gallery


1919 Paige-Detroit
The earliest example I could find of Quail's work.

1924 Packard
Since he could do automobile renderings, it's possible Quail continued doing that anonymously for brochures and such.

1926 Cadillac
Packard and Cadillac were leading luxury brands, so ad agency art directors for those firms clearly thought highly enough of Quail's ability to hire him.

1927 Chrysler
A '27 Chrysler in a similar pose to that of the car in the previous image.

1927 Chrysler
Okay, the tires disappear Fred Cole style due to snow.  But the effect is similar to Cole's deliberate incompletions.

1927 Chrysler
Luxury can in an upscale setting.

1927 Chrysler
Placing a passenger in the back seat makes this car looking cramped, though I suppose the idea was to tout its carrying capacity.

1927 Chrysler
Another incomplete car, this due to a handy railing.

1928 Chrysler
Painted in 1927, featuring the new 1928 Chrysler.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Gaspar Camps and His Women


Not long ago I was in London's Prince Edward Theatre.  It dates from 1930, having Art Deco and Moderne interior d├ęcor in places such as the lounge pictured above.

Note the framed print at the left  Here's my photo of it (excuse the reflections):


Very 1920s, I'd say.  And whose work was it?  Gaspar Camps i Junyet (1874-1942), about whom there seems to be virtually nothing on the Internet.  On the other hand, the Web has many images of his prints.

He was Catalan, but might have worked in Paris as well as Barcelona.  His circa-1900 style seems to have been influenced by Alphonse Mucha, later continuing to adjust to current illustration fashion.  Based on Web images, his subject matter was posters or prints of attractive women.  Below are some examples.

Gallery

This print was also found in the Prince Edward's lounge.  Striking, and very much of its time.

Perhaps from nearer to 1920.

Again, from the '20s.

An early 1900s print.

Ditto.

The hairstyle indicates mid-1930s.

An oil painting -- "Autumn" from around 1907.

Another 1930s example.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Ernest Hamlin Baker's Fortune Magazine Covers

Ernest Hamlin Baker (1889-1975) is probably best known for the many cover portraits he made for Time Magazine 1940-1955.   I wrote about him here, and background information is here.

Although Baker was building his career during the 1920s, some casual Internet image surfing failed to turn up anything from that decade by him.

So from our perspective, Baker doesn't really emerge until the 1930s.  And in the form of 14 or so cover illustrations he made for Henry Luce's new business-oriented Fortune Magazine that began publication in 1930.

In those Great Depression days, Fortune was expensive to buy.   In part that was due to its production values.  For example, covers were printed on heavy, non-glossy stock.  Below are images of Baker-illustrated covers.  Some can be clicked on to enlarge.

Gallery

Time Magazine 16 June 1944 cover portrait of Admiral Raymond Spruance
Spruance is regarded by me and others as the U.S. Navy's leading World War 2 combat admiral.  The style Baker used here is typical of his work for Time, and differs from what he did for Fortune.

April 1931
This seems to be Baker's first Fortune cover.  Its connection to the business world seems obscure.

July 1931
This is more like it, an ocean liner departing its New York City pier.

April 1932
A huge piece of road-building equipment.

June 1932
And let's not forget agriculture.

December 1932
Holiday season in the depths of the Depression.

January 1933
Next month, Baker offered a quite different style.

March 1933
Simplicity was found in many Fine Art painting of the time as well as this Baker illustration.

August 1933
Inter-city busses were popular means of transportation back then.

January 1934
Severe winters required snowplows for steam locomotives.

August 1934
A mining scene.

June 1935
More agriculture.

October 1935
And again.

November 1936
At this time, the U.S. automobile industry was making a recovery from the worst of the Depression.  The car on the hauler has one of those new, all-steel roofs.

April 1937
This seems to be Baker's final Fortune cover.  It deals with the new guidance systems for airliners.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Albert Dorne Drawings

I wrote about the successful, prolific illustrator Albert Dorne (1906-1965) here, featuring some of the many crowd scenes he depicted.  I got to thinking about Dorne again because a recent issue of Illustration Magazine was devoted to him.

Although I'm not usually enthusuastic about his illustrations, I greatly respect his ability to draw.   This ability is especially impressive because Dorne was self-taught, having to discover many aspects of art on his own.  David Apatoff posted about Dorne's sketchbooks here.   The present post also features some of his drawings.

Gallery

From an Art Directors Club of New York awards annual.  Dorne's style here is not typical of much of his work because the subjects are modeled, and not drawn in ink with colored ink washes added.  However, note his treatment of faces, hands and fabric folds -- the latter two are not easy for amateurs and many professionals to deal with.  Note the legs of the woman in the background; ankles are simplified, but the shapes are correctly defined by a few simple lines.

A typical Dorne illustration.  Ink lines and some shading as the basis for colored ink washes.  Dorne's characters often had a cartoon-like feeling that went a little too far in my judgment.

Now for some Famous Artists School instruction pages by Dorne.  This one deals with fabrics and folds.  The vignettes are clipped from illustrations he had made.

Here he deals with faces.

And hands -- so difficult to learn to draw for most of us.

Showing how to build faces from simple shapes.

A crowd-scene preliminary drawing.  Or maybe a partially completed illustration where the inking is done, but pencil work needs to be erased and coloring added.

Another example.  The two men at the right are included in the clothing lesson image above.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Frederic Mizen's Chevrolet Advertising Art

Frederic Kimball Mizen (1888-1964) was doing very well as an illustrator by the time he was 40, having created advertising art for leading brands such as Coca-Cola and the subject of this post, Chevrolet automobiles.

I could find little biographical information about Mizen, so this will have to do.

During the 1920s, much American automobile advertising used illustration rather than photography.  This was especially true for ads using color, as color photography technology didtn't yield good results back then.

Chevrolet was General Motors' entry-level brand, so Mizen (and the advertising agency) mostly associated the cars with upper-edge middle-class women, rather than the ritzy folks often depicted in car ads in those days.

Click on most images to enlarge.

Gallery

1927
That year's Chevrolet ads used framed paintings as artwork.  This country club setting is more upscale than most in the series.

1928
But for 1928, art was in the form of vignettes.

1928
The framed areas featuring an image of  Chevrolet included a wider-scope view or setting of the large vignette.  A cute idea.
1928
Not much facial detail, probably because it was thought that such would focus attention on her, rather than features of the car.  After all, humans tend to pay more attention to other humans than to objects in images.

1928
Here the lady's face is turned partly away from us.  As with the image above, these interior views are not detailed vignettes of the images in the frames.

1928
Back to the earlier concept here.

1929
This 1929 ad art is technically a vignette, but features considerable framing.  Mizen was a fan of the American southwest, so he must have enjoyed making this illustration.

1929
Now art in rectangular format.  The scene here is a college football game day.