Monday, August 29, 2022

James E. Allen, Illustrator and Printmaker

James Edmund Allen (1894-1964) is known for his illustration work, but is perhaps better known for his prints.  More background is here.

According to the link above, not many of his original illustration paintings survive.  But examples of his prints do.  Below are some examples of each type of work.

Allen was a competent illustrator.  However, due to the lack of images of his illustrations on the Internet, I feel that I can't provide a fair, comparative evaluation.


Painted 1928 for the story "A Carolan Comes Home" by Mary Synon in The Ladies' Home Journal, January 1929
I wrote about this illustration here.

Detail of I photo I took of it: click to enlarge.

Illustration from 1921
Apparently most of his 1920s illustrations were painted in oil.

"The Trembling God," story by Emma-Lindsay Squier in Good Housekeeping, 1927

The Sky Man - 1932
He made many prints of construction scenes.

Arch of Steel (Bayonne Bridge) - 1937
A particularly dramatic composition.

Illustration showing US Army Field Artillery - c. 1941
Exaggerated ... unusual for Allen.  The caption I found on the Internet said he made it, but that might be mistaken.

Harbor - 1953
Realistic, but Allen also was doing abstract work around this time.

Monday, August 22, 2022

More Ettore Tito Paintings

Ettore Tito (1859-1941) was a Venetian realist painter best known for his genre scenes.  Biographical information is here. I wrote about him here in 2013.

Today's post once again presents some of his paintings in chronological order.  They strike me as being a little less noteworthy than those in the first set, though they are still well made and worthy of attention.


La ciàcołe - 1883
"Chatting" or perhaps "gossiping" in Venetian dialect.

Mercato del pesce - 1885
Fish market scene.

La Chiromante - 1886
"The fortuneteller."

Dama in rosa - 1887
Example of a portrait.

Flower Girl - 1888
First of two versions of the same kind of event.

La mia rossa - 1888
Here the subjects are posed differently and the women does not wear the same clothes.  Plus, this sailor has mustaches.

Autunno - 1897
"Autumn:" Here Tito paints an Italian Alpine scene.  Not all his settings were in Venice.

La lettura - 1907
A letter is the subject of considerable attention.

Breezy day in Venice
I don't have a date for this, but it was probably made before the following Venice scene.

Grand Canal c.1910
This area has not changed much in the last 110 years aside from the persons' clothing.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Pierce-Arrow Automobile Advertisements

Pierce-Arrow automobiles (1901-1938, Wikipedia entry here) were very expensive.  They also were well-engineered and built using top-quality craftsmanship.

What they were not was stylish.  Pierce-Arrows were conservatively shaped, seeming several model years behind the designs of competing brands such as Packard and Cadillac.

One thing Pierce-Arrow did well was advertise.  That was in the days before television, when carmakers spent much of their advertising budgets on advertisements appearing in magazines.  Pierce-Arrow's advertising people used quality illustrators for images.  An interesting quirk was that the cars were often placed in the background of stylish, upscale people, helping to create a prestige image for a prestige car brand.

You might want to get details on some of the artists featured below using Google, Bing, or some other Internet search engine.

Click on images to enlarge.


1910 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Adolph Treidler
Treidler did many early ads, then in 1929 created images with the same theme as some of those early ones.  At that point, Pierce-Arrow was harking back to its pre- Great War heyday.

1910 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Gil Spear
Poster-style illustration using tempera or gouache.

1911 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Ludwig Hohlwein
Hohlwein was for many years one of Germany's top poster artists.

1911 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Lewis Fancher
Another poster-style illustration.

1919 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Simon Werner
I find the young lady more fetching than the car.

1926 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, artist unidentified
Can anyone identify who painted this?

1927 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, artist unidentified
This one, too.

1930 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Will Foster
An example of a Pierce-Arrow nostalgia advertisement.  Note the small image of the first ad art, also probably by Foster.

1931 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Myron Perley
I think the best-looking Pierce-Arrows were built around 1930.

1932 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Paul Gerding
Note the contra-jour coloring.  Very nice.

1934 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Floyd Davis
Moderne was in vogue in 1934.  Despite the Great Depression that was snuffing out Pierce-Arrow, upscale people are featured as usual.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Pietro Annigoni, Portrait Artist

Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), as mentioned here, was one of a small group of Italian artists who signed a manifesto of Modern Realist Painters (pittori moderni della realità) in 1947.

He is best known for his portrait work, though he dabbled in other subjects and media.  Some of his more sketchily-made portraits and studies contain loose, nearly abstract areas, but facial features were strongly naturalistic.

Examples of his portraits are shown below.


Self-Portrait - 1946

Portrait drawing
Probably a study that focuses on the subject's face, leaving the rest loosely indicated.

Unknown subject
A similar exercise, but mostly painted (might her head be a drawing?).

John F Kennedy - 1961
Many Annigoni portraits were painted on wood panels. But this Time Magazine cover portrait is watercolor on paper.

Margaret Rawlings, actress, Lady Barlow - 1951
Annigoni exaggerated some of her features.

Margaret Rawlings (Lady Barlow) and Annigoni - detail of NPG image - 1951
Yet she seemed pleased enough to pose for this photo with the painting.

Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah Mitford Cavendish - 1954
One of the famous Mitford sisters.

Deborah Vivien Cavendish (née Freeman-Mitford), Duchess of Devonshire; Pietro Annigoni - NPG image detail - 1954
She was about 34 years old at the time, but he seems to have slightly flattered her, unlike the Margaret Rawlings portrait above.

Mrs Woolfson
Cool, yet with drama.

Princess Margaret - 1957

Queen Elizabeth II - c.1955

Queen Elizabeth II - Her Majesty in Robes of the British Emprire - 1969

Study - Queen Elizabeth II - Her Majesty in Robes of the British Empire - 1969

Monday, August 1, 2022

Camouflaged Aircraft Factories

Military-related camouflage attracted the attention of a number of artists, some of them well-known in their day, including Abbott Handerson Thayer, Solomon J. Solomon and Norman Wilkinson (a list of camoufleurs is here).

Their work mainly had to do with deceptive coloring.  Another approach was more architectural.  That was used to disguise large areas.

For example, above are reconnaissance photos taken of Hamburg, Germany during World War 2.  They show that the downtown end of Alster Lake was covered so as to suggest the city center was farther east than it actually was.  The nearby harbor industrial area was more difficult to disguise in this manner.  As it happened, much of the city was later wiped out by massive Royal Air Force raids.  

The main subject of today's post is camouflage of American aircraft factories on the West Coast.  At the time of World War 2, much of US aircraft industry was out of range from enemy attack.  The exceptions were vital facilities close to the Pacific Ocean, and within reach of potential Japanese attackers launched from aircraft carriers.

The form of camouflage selected in the weeks following the Pearl Harbor attack was making the factories appear to be innocent neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods were clearly fake when viewed at close range.  But that was thought to be good enough, because attackers in the heat of combat were under psychological strain while having little time for contemplating a target area.  That is, the hope was that attackers' bombs would be poorly aimed, missing many vital areas.

We now know that the Imperial Japanese Navy was essentially incapable of attacking the West Coast using aircraft carriers at the start of the war.  And after most of their large fleet carriers were destroyed at Midway in June 1942, such attacks were military impossible other than as suicide missions.

Nevertheless, those camouflage neighborhoods remained in place until after the war ended.  I remember seeing the Boeing factory camouflage when I was a young boy.

Below are photos of major West Coast camouflage projects.  The ones in California were more successful than the one in Seattle because their neighboring topography and settlement patterns were much easier to blend into.


View of the Douglas factory camouflage in Santa Monica.

Douglas camouflage at Long Beach.

Now for Lockheed camouflage in Burbank.  In those days, Burbank was at the edge of suburbs, not built-up as it is today.

Even the tarmac was painted to help confuse analysis of aerial reconnaissance photos.

Large areas of netting were used to cover non-structural areas that otherwise would have revealed aircraft that had rolled off the assembly line.  Above is a Constellation transport and a number of P-38 fighters.

Even the large parking lot was covered.

Boeing's Plant 2 in Seattle was another matter.  On the near side is the Duwamish River.  On the far side are the Boeing Field runway and storage areas for completed B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.  The nearest residential area is South Park, on the near side of the river.  Blending was not practical.

At best, this camouflage might confuse an attacker who hadn't been briefed that the factory was between the river bridge and the runway.

View of the roof camouflage.  That hip roof house in the center is typical of new housing construction in Seattle around 1940.

A Seattle Times photo of Riveter Rosies taking a sun break on the roof during Seattle's six-week July-August summer.