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.


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.

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