Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Up Close: E.M. Jackson (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 Elbert McGran (E.M.) Jackson (1896-1962) who painted covers for leading American magazines such as Saturday Evening Post and Collier's. Biographical information regarding Jackson is sparse, and this is the most detailed I could locate through a brief Google search.

Featured here is an illustration titled "Coat Check Girl" for the 19 April, 1930 cover of Collier's.

The source of the detail image 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 one showing detail. Click on the latter to enlarge.

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A reference photo I took

Jackson had a nice, clean style of painting that yielded crisp looking images when reduced to magazine size and run through the printing process. But the detail image shows (if you can enlarge it) that his brushwork wasn't "tight." He simply painted his subjects large enough to suit his style knowing that reduction would tighten things up.

Note that the light background paint is cracking, whereas the paint on the subject seems to be holding up well. I can think of more than one possible reason for this, but hesitate to come to a conclusion.


Anonymous said...

I very much encourage you to continue with this posting thread. I have always been an admirer of wht, as a 13 year old I concluded was the "ART Deco" style of illustration art. I have always felt that this style (clean crisp line/color work, better described by yourself) is much more modern a look or approach then what came along through the 80's till today. The artist of yore didn't hold back time and skill to push out the work it seems. At any rate I believe my love of the era's art might be nostalgic as well as I would bring home old copies of Nat. Geographic from the weekly visits to the thrift stores from an early age. (we called em junk stores then) I only have a handful of the old Nat's left from that time but still enjoy looking through them, admiring the work of N. Rockwell on down. I just wanted to post in part to let you know your work is appreciated. Thank you.


Donald Pittenger said...

Mark -- Have have another half-dozen or so posts for the series in the queue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. We have a little more information about E.M. Jackson here:

Thanks for the photos of this work,
Kimbo Jackson