Monday, April 8, 2013

Up Close: Mead Schaeffer (1)

This is part of an occasional series dealing with detail images of paintings featuring the brushwork of the artist. Previous posts can be found via the "Up close" topic label link on the sidebar.

The present post deals with Mead Schaeffer (1898-1980) when he was following the style that gained him success as an illustrator. Additional information on Schaeffer is here.

Featured here is an illustration for Stephen Meader's book "The Black Buccaneer" of 1929.

The source of the detail images is explained below:

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The Kelly Collection has what is probably the outstanding holding of American illustration art by private individuals (not organizations). I was able to view part of it at The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California towards the end of a January 12 - March 31, 2013 exhibition run. The collection concentrates on illustration art created roughly 1890-1935 and one of its purposes is to further knowledge and appreciation of illustration from that era.

Non-flash photography was allowed, so I took a large number of high-resolution photos of segments of those original works. This was to reference the artists' techniques in a manner not always easy to obtain from printed reproductions. (However, the exhibition catalog does feature a few large-scale detail reproductions.)

I thought that readers of this blog might also be interested in seeing the brushwork of master illustrators up close to increase their understanding of how the artists worked and perhaps to serve as inspiration for their own painting if they too are artists.

Below is an image of the entire illustration coupled with my work. Click on the latter to enlarge.

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This image is from the Kelly Collection website.

From the lower right corner.

This is from near the center.

Early in his career, Schaeffer illustrated adventurous, swashbuckling subjects using brushwork with a boldness to match. The detail image in the middle could easily be a 1950s New York Abstract Expressionist work. Note that Schaeffer used his initials to sign the painting. The lower image features the "square brush" heavy impasto style he favored at the time.

1 comment:

Zoe Crosse said...

Fantastic process...the paint jumps off the surface because of the contrast of over painting and under painting...such energy in the strokes.....inspiring.
blogger. 'no one home ' zoe crosse