Once upon a time there was an important weekly news magazine named Time. It was the leading magazine in its category from the beginning (it being the first of its kind in the U.S.), and for years its cover would feature an illustration-portrait of a newsmaker. Artwork prevailed (though not exclusively) through the 1960s and beyond, though photography slowly began taking over as the 1970s wore on.
A prolific cover artist during the 1940s and 50s was Ernest Hamlin Baker (1889-1975). He attended Colgate, where he was a track and field athlete and was active in student publications. As an artist, he was largely self-taught, but had the ability to work his way into the illustration field. This website has some biographical information and examples of his work.
Baker's mature style was strongly realistic. No modernist simplification for him: Baker seemed to glory in depicting every wrinkle and blemish on the faces assigned to him by Harry Luce and the editors who selected cover subjects.
Baker's art is probably unfashionable in many art-elitist circles. However, I tend to think that his covers represent valuable documentation of his times and Time's heyday.
Below are examples of Baker's work.
This was a New Deal (but not a WPA) project, as this link attests.
Features President Franklin Roosevelt; his new wartime allies Stalin and Churchill are in the background. Baker seems to have Winston eying Uncle Joe warily, a reflection of his true view of the Communist dictator.
The subject is James Doolittle, leader of the famous Tokyo raid earlier that year and now commander of Twelfth Air Force in the newly-opened North Africa front. The olive drab color and white-on blue star represent the paint-job found on U.S. Army aircraft at that time.
He is Dwight Eisenhower, commander of Allied forces that invaded France in June and at year's end were on a front near the German border.
this website, a spread from Ernest W. Watson's 1946 book "40 Illustrators and How They Work." Discussed is a mid-1930s portrait illustration of CIO labor leader John L. Lewis, a powerful figure in those days. Try clicking on the image for a much larger view. If your computer screen is large, you might be able to make out the text. To me the key item of interest is that Baker used thinned oil paints rather than watercolor, tempera or some other medium to get the effects seen in works such as the Time covers shown above.