Thursday, July 30, 2020

Maynard Dixon, Painter and Illustrator of the Southwest

Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), illustrator and painter of Southwestern United States subjects, is probably less known to the general public than Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), his second wife. She is famous for her photographs of 1930s scenes of people affected by the Great Depression. Some background on Dixon is here.

During the early part of his career Dixon made illustrations, but by the 1920s he was able to shift to painting landscapes and people in the general area of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

His style was representational, though by the 1920s he followed the fashion of simplification of forms to a slight degree.


Enchanted Night - 1896
An early illustration.

Cowboy illustration - 1911
He was a competent illustrator, though the style of this example is not as distinctive as that of Frederic Remington or N.C. Wyeth.

Corral Dust - 1915
Perhaps influenced by Wyeth, Dixon used Impressionist elements in this work.

Night Ride, Sandhill Camp - 1921
This is suggestive of Remington's night scenes.

Tradition - 1922
Here Dixon adds a touch of Modernist simplification, something that often works well when painting Southwestern scenes.

Yonder the Navajos - 1921
A landscape from about the same time as the two images above.

Watchers from the Housetop - 1931
Possibly a view of the Pueblo near Taos, New Mexico.

Shapes of Fear - 1932
This is almost sculptural.

Forgotten Man - 1934
Perhaps influenced by Lange, Dixon painted some Depression-era political works.

Horse and wagon, Utah - 1946
This might be one of his last paintings -- not very different from what he was doing 25 years earlier.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Harold Anderson, Prolific Yet Pedestrian Illustrator

Harold N. Anderson (1894–1973) had a successful career as an illustrator from the 1920s well into the 1940s. An examination of images by him on Google turned up little or nothing by him for the 1950s. A further problem is that his Wikipedia entry is brief, not very informative.

As suggested in this post's title, his illustrations do not interest me, let alone excite my imagination. They are hard-edge, have detailed depictions of subjects and settings, but lack a distinctive personal style. Competent, generic illustrations typical of their period.

Take a look at some examples:


Peace on Earth
From the early-to-mid 1930s. The woman is interesting, the man in the background isn't, so far as I am concerned.

Hockey player - 1935
Nice pose, but I doubt that he will lower his stick in time to strike the puck.

Woman resting - 1935
Her arms seem too small, or maybe her head is too large.

Beer advertisement illustration
Stroh's was a Detroit-based beer.

Doctor's house call

The Nurse's Escorts
A World War 2 image showing a nurse with enlisted men from the navy and army. The swabby has higher rank for some reason.  (I'm an ex-Army E-5, so I note such details.)

Home from the Army
One web site says this was a 1951 illustration, but the uniform seems to be from the very early 1940s.

Home from the War
The young man was a tech sergeant in the 5th Army that fought in North Africa and Italy.

Recital scene
This apparently early illustration is the most interesting one I that I could find. I like the composition and brushwork (aside from the rough treatment of the faces and arms).

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Samuel Marshall Frantz's Great Depression Descent into Pulps

Samuel Marshall Frantz (1890-1953), was born in the Russian Empire, trained in art in Philadelphia, and became a fairly successful illustrator until the Great Depression of the 1930s drove him to paining covers for "pulp" magazines (low-priced collections of stories). Biographical information can be found here.

Frantz was capable of good work, but his production seems to have been of uneven quality, based on those of his images found on the internet. Examples are in the Gallery below.


I think this is Frantz's most impressive illustration, but don't have information regarding its source. I especially like his treatment of the lady in the foreground -- the contre
-jour lighting, the brushwork, etc.

From Munsey's Magazine, July 1921
An early example: somewhat crudely done, in my opinion.

Another 1920s illustration. Decently drawn aside from the oddly angled shoreline in the background.

Play Time
I like the treatment of light and shade.

Looking at sail boats
This would have worked better in color due to the busy area in the right half. But color illustration was expensive and therefore rare in the 1920s, so black in white this had to be. I wonder if this was a two-page spread illustration because the elements seem to split down the center.

The Card Game - 1924
Another vignette-style illustration. These were common in the 1920s and 30s.

Argosy cover - 13 May 1939
An example of his pulp work. The subjects are less-skillfully done than in some of the images above. Either some crudeness was expected by the editor, or else Frantz dashed off the work due to a short deadline or low pay for his effort.

Diamonds Cost Money - story illustration, 1946
A rare postwar example. Quite different from the previous illustrations, and in line with illustration fashions of the time.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Clark Hulings - Western and Other Paintings

Clark Hulings (1922-2011) had a successful career as an illustrator as well as a fine arts painter. His Wikipedia entry is here, some biographical information on the Hulings website is here (scroll down), and a review of an exhibit of his work is here.

His health was poor when young, suffering from Tuberculosis, but lived to age 88 and was highly productive. Besides a Physics degree from Haverford College, he received art training from George Bridgman, Frank Reilly and Sigismund Ivanowsky.

His illustration career took place mostly in the late 1940s and the 1950s. Thereafter, he focused on painting, moving to New Mexico in the early 1970s for a better environment for his weakened lungs.

Hulings' paintings generally featured the southwestern United States and his regional subject art is largely displayed and marketed in Cowboy/Western art venues.  He also seems to have traveled extensively in Europe and painted scenes from there.

I cannot recall having seen a Hulings painting in person, so can't comment on brushwork and other details. The images below suggest that their appearance was close to photorealism, but that might be misleading. Several are copyrighted, but I include them so as to provide a sense of his capabilities.


Jose on Maria - 1982
An example of Southwestern subject matter.

Cuyamungue - 1974
A landscape where brushwork is evident.

An Ancient French Farmhouse
This strikes me as being created for potential salability, but then Hulings was noted as a shrewd artist-businessman.

A Hilltop Town in Liguria - 1999
One of his Italian paintings.

Riomaggio, Sunday Afternoon
And another, this of a Cinque Terre village. The perspective is the same as one would find in a wide-angle photograph. That makes me suspect that is was based on such a photo.

The Spanish Shawl
Not typical of Hulings' painting subjects, though early in his career he made portraits to earn some money.

Croppers Cabin cover art (detail)
An example of his illustration work, some of which was for paperback book covers.

Another example, but here he used media untypical for him.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Some Non-Pontiac Ad Art by Art Fitzpatrick

1963 Pontiac Grand Prix at Monaco's Hotel de Paris

Arthur "Art" M. Fitzpatrick (1919-2015) is famed in illustration circles for his classic 1959-1972 series of illustrations for Pontiac made in collaboration with Van Kaufman.  Fitzpatrick rendered the cars and Kaufman furnished the settings and people.  There was some overlap in that settings and people might be reflected on the cars. I previously wrote about him and the Pontiac illustrations here.
Fitzpatrick's Wikipedia entry is here.  An interview of him is here, and includes the following regarding his way of working on Pontiac ads such as that shown above:

"I photographed a car [for General Motors testimony at a congressional hearing] … same position/view with 3 different lenses, 35, 50, and 120mm. Photographers, for reasons that continue to escape me, were using long lenses, which shorten a car, making the rear wheel look bigger then the front ones. I always used a 35mm lens (wide angle). I made a pencil line drawing of an exact tracing of 35mm photo, and on another sheet over that did my “enhancing”.

Further detail regarding the "enhancing" is here, including this snippet:

"To produce his famous "wide" look, Fitzpatrick traced photos of the new car, cut the racings into pieces, then "stretched" the car into bolder proportions. "We wanted pictures that were different," Fitzpatrick says. "Impact is the name of the game, so we went with predominately front views -- even cropping the cars so that they looked too big for the page."

Fitzpatrick began his illustration career in 1946 with a contract for Mercury.  He freelanced for other brands until 1953 when he and Kaufman began working for General Motors.  He did Buick illustrations at first, then in 1959 began the famous Pontiac series.  Following Pontiac, he and Kaufman made some advertising illustrations for GM's (at the time) Opel subsidiary in Germany.

Below are a few examples of his illustrations for brands other than Pontiac.


This illustration is of a 1948 Mercury "woodie" station wagon.  Fitzpatrick was still early in his advertising image career.  The perspective is a bit distorted (probably intentionally), and proportions of some of the details such as the headlights seem incorrect (possibly not intentionally).

A 1949 Mercury convertible.  Now we see a typical "Fitz" rendering of an automobile.

I do not know for certain if Fitzpatrick made this illustration of a 1952 or '53 Nash, but it looks like his work.

The same can be said for this 1953 Plymouth illustration.

Illustration of a 1954 Buick by Fitzpatrick.

A 1956 Buick illustration.

1971 Opel, posed in front of Paris' famous Café de Flore on the Left Bank.  Note the Citroën camion in the background that adds to the atmosphere.

1971 Opel Manta.  These Opel depictions have a more solid feel than the Pontiac illustrations -- probably intentionally to make them seem less Pontiac-like..

Illustration of a 1972 Opel Commodore.

Cross-posted at:

Monday, July 13, 2020

Marcel Brunery: Cardinals and Tablecloths

Marcel Brunery (1893-1982) was a French artist who made many paintings of Roman Catholic Cardinals in casual settings.

His biographical information on the Internet was nearly non-existent as of the time this post was drafted. Here is the most I could find.

What interests me about the paintings shown below is how similar the tablecloths in the various images are. I do not know if there is some liturgical meaning to the designs or whether such tablecloths were simply common at the time Brunery made the paintings. Perhaps they were from his residence and used as props for the settings.

Other commonalities appear below. Brunery had to sell paintings to earn a living, so some recycling of subject matter and even depictions might have been necessary.


Afternoon Tea
Note the tablecloth. It, or ones with similar designs appear in all the images below.

An Afternoon Concert
A musical theme.

La sonate
And another. Also note that these paintings feature room decor, many showing areas much above the main subjects.

Testing the New Vintage

Sweet Indulgence
Compare the portrayals to those in "Afternoon Tea," the first image above.

La fête des cardinaux

The Game of Chess

A Difficult Move
Another chess scene.

A Toast to His Eminence

An Opening Salvo
... of champagne spray.

A Perfect Target
And another.