Monday, May 13, 2013

Up Close: Mead Schaeffer (2)

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. A previous post in this series that deals with Schaffer is here.

Featured here is an illustration for the 1928 Dodd, Mead & Co. edition of "The Count of Monte Cristo."

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.

Most artists using bold brushwork and plenty of impasto would paint subjects' faces noticeably more carefully. An example is a Dean Cornwell story illustration featured in another post in this series. But here Schaeffer backed off only a little from his 1920s vigor when he dealt with the count's face. Note the green on the face, shirt and shadow on the shirt, this in contrast to the red background.

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