Monday, June 29, 2015

Henry Soulen, Mural-Style Illustrator

Henry James Soulen (1888-1965) was an illustrator whose work was published in major magazines, yet he is virtually unknown today. Short biographical links are here and here.

Soulen's style included bright colors, limited depth, and cloisonnist outlining of his subject matter. These traits are commonly found in murals painted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Dancing at the Waldorf

Great War scene

The Three Musketeers

The Ukulele Player

Flowers of Gold

From "One Man and One Woman"

Here is an example of a problem faced by me and other bloggers who make use of unfamiliar images found on the Internet. Not having seen the original art or even a printed reproduction, I have no sure way of telling what the original coloration was like. Above are two versions of "The Parade." The upper version has more naturalistic colors. But I wonder if the image was scanned from a magazine; illustration colors were and are altered purposefully or otherwise during the publication process. The lower version has better resolution (you can see more impasto brushwork: click to enlarge), yet the colors don't strike me as realistic for a German scene. If any reader knows for certain what the original colors were, please post a comment.

1 comment:

Kevin RR Williams said...

Tough call on the color accuracy of Internet images. Not only can hues be enhanced (or degraded) by the person posting them, original paintings can desaturate and yellow over time, particularly if lacquered and/or exposed to sunlight. In some cases, bright colors may be a restoration that differs from the current appearance of the painting. Since this artist was known for his use of intense, brilliant color, I would side with the higher resolution saturated color version of "The Parade."