Monday, October 31, 2016

Cyrus, the Senior Cuneo

Cyrus Cincinnati Cuneo (1879-1916) died young from a freak accident: blood poisoning from a hatpin prick at a dance.

At the time, he was a successful illustrator and painter based in England. Today he might be better known as being the father of Terence Cuneo, a beloved and honored British illustrator.

But he wasn't British by origin. Cyrus (or "Ciro" as he was called) was born in San Francisco to Italian immigrants, growing up in the North Beach part of town. He became a boxer to help support himself while studying art in Paris where he greatly impressed James McNeill Whistler, one of his teachers. A biographical note is here, and a PDF with useful information is here.

Cuneo was versatile, as can be seen in the collection below.


Illustration from a book of A.J. Raffles stories by E.W. Hornung

Canadian trapper attacked by wolves
Cuneo spent some time in Canada, mostly doing artwork for Canadian Pacific.  This illustration might be for a fiction piece.

Frontispiece for "The Air Patrol" by Herbert Strang (pseudonym)

The Sinking of the Gneisenau
This looks like an Illustrated London News sort of illustration. The Gneisenau was a German cruiser, part of Admiral von Spee's fleet that was mostly destroyed by the British in the Battle of the Falklands, 8 December 1914.

Japanese Tea Garden
Now for a change of pace from book and magazine illustration ...

The Picnic

Nell Marion Tenison - the artist's wife

The Diners - 1913

Arriving at the Ball

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Edmund F. Ward

Edmund Franklin Ward (1892-1990) was not as famous as some other illustrators during the 1890-1960 heyday of American magazine illustration. But he was competent and had his successes, especially in the 1920s.

Ward's brief Wikipedia entry is here and other links touching on his career are here and here.

As can be seen below, his 1920s style is similar to that of contemporary illustrators such as Dean Cornwell who painted in thick oils. As many other illustrators did, Ward altered his style and media to go along with changing illustration fashion. One result of this is that there is no distinctive Ward style.


Dean Cornwell illustration - 1919
Compare the 1920s illustrations by Ward below to this Cornwell.

Trouble on the Trail - 1923

The Stowaway - The Kelly Collection - 1924

We Mean Business - Kelly Collection - 1924

Egyptian vignette - 1923
Vignette format illustration was common for secondary story illustrations. The lead illustration might have conventional rectangular borders, but others in the same magazine piece or illustrations in later issues containing other parts of the same, continuing story might be vignetted.

Vignette - story illustration

Vignette- story illustration

Vignette - Saturday Evening Post story illustration

Caught in the Act
This possibly unfinished illustration or study was made around the mid-1930s. Note that the green hat in the mirror is not that same shape as the one in the foreground.

Thunder on the Plains - This Week magazine, February 1936
Here we see a change to watercolor or perhaps colored inks.

GE Lamps advertisement - 1946
An example of Ward's postwar work.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Albert Guillaume at the Theatre

Albert Guillaume (1873-1942) was a French illustrator and painter with a satirical mindset. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Guillaume usually poked fun at the haute bourgeoisie, so for this post I decided to present some of his works dealing with the theatre.


Musique savante
The music lover seems inspired, but I'm not so sure about the others nearby.

La Loge au théâtre
He tended to depict pretty younger women with older men, so maybe there was a good deal of that during the Belle Époque and later.

Les admiratrices (Lucien Guitry dans sa loge) - 1922

Private opera box
A group utterly fixated on what's happening on stage.

Au theatre - 1920s

Les retardataires
The performance of the late arrivals.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

TWA Terminal at JFK Airport : Some 1965 Photos

There is little lack of photographs of the TWA terminal designed by Eero Saarinen at JFK Airport in New York City, but I'll add to that pile in this post.

For some background on the terminal, its Wikipedia entry is here.

It was an astonishing building when it opened in May of 1962, and remains so. TWA was staggering by the 1980s however, entering its first bankruptcy in 1991 and ten years later its remains were acquired by American Airlines. The terminal has had an equally uneven existence, and the plan is to transform it into a hotel -- the structure being the hotel's public areas (as best I can tell).

With one exception, the photos below were taken by me in June of 1965. They originally were slides that I scanned, cropped in many cases, and most had their color adjusted. They are not great photographic art, but might give you the flavor of the place when it was still fairly new.


View of the TWA terminal when nearly completed.

The approach was through a parking lot that is long gone.

Heading towards the entrance from the passenger drop-off zone.

The clock says it's nearly 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

The tube-like shape in the background is a passageway to the airplanes.

View from the upper level.

A conversation nook.

The restaurant-bar.  The tail of a KLM airliner is seen at the extreme left.

Another view from the second level. It's now exactly 6 p.m.

Flight information board.  The parking lot can be seen in the background.

The building is visually entertaining because all those sweeping shapes have to come together here and there to create interesting details such as this.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Terence Cuneo Sampler

Terence Cuneo (1907-1996) was a prominent British illustrator who specialized in mechanical objects, yet was quite capable of depicting people -- something some tech artists have trouble with. On the other hand, there are a number of artists who are good at people but have serious trouble with things such as cars and airplanes. So Cuneo, himself the son of a successful illustrator, was something of an all-rounder. His limitation was that he was a run-of-the-mill storyteller in the illustration sense. That is, he could depict scenes of fierce action, but they usually were a kind of snapshot without much of a plot or backstory. To some degree that might have been what his clients wanted, so I can't quite be categorical regarding this.

Cuneo's Wikipedia entry is here, and here is a link to my post about his railroad illustrations.

This post shows examples of Cuneo's work over the range of his typical subjects.


Railroad illustration: "Crossing the Forth"

The assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, 27 May 1942.

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953. This image from the internet seems to be slightly cropped at the sides and bottom.

The Festival of Britain was an exposition held in 1951, and The Illustrated London News was a major publication at the time. Note Cuneo's signature in the pennant at the lower right. London fans will note that the Festival grounds are between the County Hall building and the power station that is now the Tate Modern art gallery. The large, flat-domed building is inland from the location of the present London Eye ferris wheel. This illustration combines architecture and human figures, the latter painted in part with flat brush strokes, something we will also see below.

"The First Air Post" painted in 1978 shows that Cuneo was comfortable dealing with aircraft.

This is a Bristol Beaufighter having a torpedo loaded. I consider Cuneo generally better than Frank Wootton when depicting aircraft, and Wootton was hardly a slouch (though he could be sloppy getting correct proportions).

Bristol Aircraft Company assembly line, 1944, showing Beaufighters.

Another assembly line painting (and he did at least one other!), this of Ford in 1947.

Probably brochure illustrations for the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 234 or 236, painted 1955 or thereabouts. Cuneo was good at cars.

Coastal battery scene. I don't know when this was painted, but the period it depicts is probably 1940 when the British were preparing to repel a possible German invasion.

Detail of a painting showing the Kidney Ridge or Snipe Action in North Africa. Note Cuneo's brushwork: simple, but quite effective.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Some Stubby Postwar New York "Skyscrapers"

When Wall Street crashed in October 1929 marking the start of the Great Depression, a large amount of office space in New York City was either under construction or in such advanced a planning stage that construction happened anyway.

Depression-driven drastic scaling back of business activity combined with floor after floor of new office space reaching completion in the early 1930s resulted in a glut on the real estate leasing market. Famous sites such as the Empire State Building remained partly empty for years after they were built.

World War 2 prosperity and the fact that depressed times failed to recur saw more and more space being rented after the war.  The market soon reached the point that new office building construction could resume.

This first wave of postwar buildings was an odd-looking lot. For one thing, they were short by New York standard -- 21 to 25 above-ground floors. And their shapes determined by zoning regulations were not graceful, especially when compared to the Art Deco style skyscrapers of the late 1920s and early 30s.


Look Building, 488 Madison Avenue (at 51st Street) - 1950
Designed by Emery Roth & Sons, 25 floors. This is perhaps the best known of that era's office construction. The building was named for its major tenant, Look Magazine, a photography-centered publication that competed against the better-known, more successful, Life Magazine. A noteworthy tenant was industrial designer Raymond Loewy. A recent tenant is the Municipal Art Society. The building attained landmark status in 2010, as this New York Times article reports.

Universal Pictures Building, 445 Park Avenue (between 56th & 57th streets) - 1947
Kahn & Jacobs architects, 22 floors. This is perhaps the first of the postwar breed. Setbacks begin above the tenth floor. The exterior features curtain walls and strip windows.

505 Park Avenue (at 59th Street) - 1949
Emery Roth & Sons architects, 21 floors. Again strip windows, but the corner facing the intersection is rounded off -- an echo of certain 1930s Moderne designs. The Look Building continued and elaborated on this motif.

260 Madison Avenue (by 38th Street) - 1953
Sylvan Bien architect, 21 floors. The trendsetting 1952 Lever House by Gordon Bunshaft (Park Avenue between 53rd & 54th streets, 24floors) was in place before 260 was completed, and Bien did borrow the sort of cladding used by Bunshaft. On the other hand, the wedding cake setback scheme of the buildings shown above was continued.