Monday, December 3, 2018

New Book About Haddon Sundblom

Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) was a leading illustrator for many years and influential in the careers of other illustrators.

Now Dan Zimmer of Illustration Magazine has written a lavishly illustrated book about him (information here). I am quite pleased with it. Some books on illustrators lack details regarding their subjects because illustrators, like many writers, can live somewhat isolated lives due to the nature of their work. Sundblom ran a commercial art studio in Chicago, so there were many people around him that could provide stories. Also, he was quoted in interviews, which helped Zimmer to provide a more rounded portrait than he was able to do in some other cases.

For a quick take on Sundblom, his Wikipedia entry is here.

I posted about him here on 27 February 2012 and here on 8 June 2011. In the latter post, I stated:

"Yet something bothers me just enough that I can't place Sundblom with contemporaries such as Dean Cormwell, John La Gatta and Mead Schaeffer. Maybe it had to do with stereotyping or pigeonholing by clients and art directors. Perhaps it was Sundblom's preference. In any event, the result was that little of his work had drama or "bite" of any kind."

Some of the illustrations in the book invalidate what I thought back in 2011. Sundblom was quite able to paint in styles other than the buttery sort that he is best known for. Some examples are below.


Sundblom is best-known nowadays for his depictions of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola. This example is from 1946.

He did a good deal of other work for Coke, such as this 1950 poster.

Coca-Cola illustration from 1937. Again in his buttery oil-painting style.

Red Cross theme poster art.

Now for some editorial art for fiction pieces in magazines: this seems to be from the late 1930s.

From a June, 1957 Ladies' Home Journal.

Now for some illustrations that are not "buttery."

These three images represent top-quality 1930s-vintage magazine illustration, and are far removed from Sundblom's Coca-Cola work.

Finally, a Sundblom story illustration demonstrating his ability to depict ordinary folks, and not glamorous or dramatic types.

Haddon Sundblom was really good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings, You have a great blog!

Decades ago when I was an undergraduate, a journalism professor enlightened us to a gimmick often used by illustrators and photo retouchers. It has probably been around forever, but eventually it became referred to as ‘subliminal advertising.’ The idea is to embed images (usually soft porn) into regular ads in such an artful way that they’re actually disguised, and are only recognized by the consumer’s sub-conscience, which reacts by lingering on the ad until pleasurable feelings emerge. The hope is that those feelings will then become associated with the particular product or place.

We were shown examples in class and then were given the assignment of bringing in our own finds. Afterwards it just wasn't possible to not notice the subliminal stuff.

On your blog I’ve come across quite a few examples. In my opinion it just adds another interesting, pleasurable dimension to the art-fullness of it all.

Here’s some examples from this post:

* Coke ad, 1950: Take a very close look at the rope detail below the model’s legs. Also, take a close look at the lower right section of the Coke bottle. You might not see the subliminal stuff immediately (You’re not supposed to!). Be patient and let your eye move around and ‘work’ that area. Do you see the male & female figures?

* Santa Coke ad, 1946: Zoom your eye in on Santa’s coat (his lower left side, from below the belt down to the white trim). There’s a soft porn scene there. The white trim resembles a bed sheet, there’s a blob of wild brown hair, a breast, a phallus.

And more examples from elsewhere on the blog:

* Austin Reed, train station scene, 1930s: Take a close look at the darker part of the fur draped over the woman’s arm. What’s she really carrying there?

* Sommer in Deutschland, travel poster: Phalli on the woman’s wrap, and the man’s nose is actually a phallus

* Historic Totnes-Devon, railway poster: The phalli and soft porn scenes are embedded in the three roofs at the upper left of the poster. Give your eye time to tease it all out! It really kicks up your appetite for travel :)

That’s all for now. Enjoy!