Monday, February 27, 2012

In the Beginning: Haddon Sundblom

This post continues an illustrators' parallel to the series on early works by modernist painters.

The subject is Haddon Sundblom, who spent his career in Chicago and was highly influential in his day; many successful illustrators cut their teeth in the field while working at his studio. If you're fortunate enough to have a copy of the first issue of Illustration Magazine or its later reprint, the lead article deals with Sundblom.

In December 2010 Leif Peng had a series of posts on his blog dealing with Sundblom. The lead article, which dealt with his early career, can be found here. Go to the blog's archives for that month to access the related posts.

The source for Sundblom's early work shown in the present post was the Annual of Advertising Art, a yearly awards publication of the Art Directors Club of New York; the organization's present guise is here, and those awards are still being given.

Dates for the illustrations shown below are "circa" the year before the source Annual was printed because that was when the the work was probably published.


Coca-Cola Santa Claus
For better or worse, these days Sundblom is best known for his Santa illustrations for Coca-Cola.

For Lincoln - 1924
This image was found on the Web; a black-and-white version was in the Annual of Advertising Art for 1925.

For Lincoln - c.1924
In the mid-1920s Lincoln had many advertisements using the general visual and content themes shown above. One factor that was not consistent was the artist doing the illustrations. Although Sundblom did some of this work, perhaps most were by Fred Cole. It is hard to tell which artist did any given illustration, because the artistic style is similar for the entire ad campaign, something surely imposed by the art director. What's not clear is whether the art director had this appearance in mind from the start or else liked what he saw in the work created by the initial artist and ordered it continued. In any case, that series was very attractive -- more so than Lincoln's cars of the time.

For Ford - c.1924

For Ford- c.1924

Illustration for unidentified automotive client - c.1924

For White Naphtha Soap - c.1927

For Camay Soap - c.1928
Yes, this was really done by Sundblom (unless the caption was botched in the Annual). The deviation from his usual style might be explained by the art director wanting an appearance in line with the simplified, poster-like modernist look common in fashion illustration in the late 1920s.

For White Naphtha Soap - c.1929
The original artwork was in color, but printed in black-and-white in the Annual.

For Packard - c.1930
In the late 1920s into 1930 Packard advertisements would have a scene of luxury painted by a well-known illustrator at the top of the page and an image of a car towards the bottom. This Sundblom illustration has been cropped on the right side because the page in the opened Annual curved towards the gutter and distorted the image I photographed; note some reflected light washing out the right section of the remaining image.

No comments: