Monday, June 26, 2023

Pierre Mourgue, Fashion Illustrator

Pierre Mourgue (1890-1969) was an important French fashion illustrator.   Some biographical information is here.

Much of his work was published in Condé Nast's Vogue Magazine's French, British, American and German versions.  Examples are shown below along with other illustrations whose sources were not clear from Internet sources.

It seems that fashion illustration, along with its subject matter, follows its own set of fashions.  1920s illustrations tended to simplify human figures and clothing, creating flattening to various degrees depending on the artist or perhaps the art director.  In the 1930s fashion changed to free-style wash drawings, this persisting into the 1950s and beyond.  There also seem to have been some national differences, as Mourgue's 1920s cover illustration for German Vogue are more simplified than those he did for other editions.

In two words, Mourgue was both fashionable and versatile.


Monsieur magazine cover - February 1921
Some of his comparatively early work was for a men's magazine.  Doesn't look like that guy on the right spent much time in the trenches around Verdun.

Illustration - 1927
Mourgue's illustrations sometimes used more shape modeling than was common at the time.

Illustration - 1928
Not a fashion illustration.

Vogue (Germany) cover - May 1928
An example of his simplified German style.

Vogue (USA) cover - 15 September 1928
Mourgue traveled to the USA a lot, according to the link above.  The background of this illustration seems to be a greatly enlarged New York Central Park lake.

Vogue (UK) cover - March 1929
All is flatly done save the car's steering wheel.

Vogue illustration - 1932
New decade, new fashion trend.

Patou dresses - c.1934
Original publication illustration, probably for French Vogue.

Vogue (USA) cover - 1 March 1935
The new fashion illustration style.

Vogue cover illustration - 1935
Another example.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Wallace Morgan - Black and White Illustration

Wallace Morgan (1873-1948, some sources have his birth in 1875) had a successful career making drawings for publication.  A Smithsonian link about him is here, his Wikipedia entry here, and a link to the Society of Illustrators is here.

Morgan's early career was as a newspaper artist, where speed was important.  Clearly Morgan was adept at composition and capturing realistic and believable detail.  This background is probably why he was commissioned as a combat artist during America's participation in the Great War.

Aside from the war, most of his subjects were High Society or nearly so.


“Lovers and Lovers” - Collier's - March 3, 1917

"Now that you made her cry, I hope you're happy" - New Yorker - March 22, 1942

Saturday Evening Post illustration.

This illustration and the following ones lack source and date information.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Frederick L. Packer, From Art Nouveau to Political Cartooning

Frederick Little Packer (1886-1956), about whom little can be found on the Internet, was an illustrator, later a political cartoonist.

Available on-line illustrations are mostly of a 1920 series he did for the Vivadou cosmetics firm's Mavis series.  Several of those advertisements are shown below.

Also shown is Packer's editorial cartoon that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952.

Note the extreme stylistic difference.  As it happened, editorial cartooning was probably a lot more steady source of income than advertising art for Packer, so I can't really blame him for making the switch in 1932 when the great Depression was at its worst.


"September," part of the 1920 Mavis advertising campaign.

This is Packer's Pulitzer Prize winner.  Hard to believe the same artist did both.

More Mavis ads ...

Monday, June 5, 2023

Harry Morse Meyers, Illustrator

Harry Morse Meyers (1886-1961 or perhaps 1962) had a reasonably successful career as an illustrator.  Biographical information on the Internet is essentially non-existent, as best I can tell following some searches.  He was from Louisiana, but spent his career in New York.

Unlike more famous illustrators, he had no distinctive style.  But that might have been a virtue, because he altered his style over time to conform to illustration fashions, continuing to earn a living as an artist.  That is, he didn't get type-cast, thereby falling out of art directors' favor.

Images below are in chronological order so that you can see how his style changed to suit the illustration market.  Meyers was versatile, and skilled.


Vogue cover - 15 December 1915

Sheet music cover - 1920

Ivory Soap advertisement (cropped) - c.1922

Indigo Dreams - Ladies' Home Journal - April 1923

Fabric advertisement - 1923

Ladies' Home Journal cover - May 1928

Life Magazine cover - December 1928

Coca-Cola poster - 1932

Collier's Magazine cover - 1942

U.S. Army Air Forces poster - World War 2