Monday, August 28, 2023

Paul Gerding, Automobile Advertising Illustrator

Paul Gerding (1895-1983) made a number of very nice illustrations for automobile advertisements, especially in the late 1920s to mid-1930s.  He did other work, but I found little of it on Internet searches.  Part of my problem is that illustrators did not always sign their work -- usually due to the ad agency or its client's policy.

Because of all that, I could find little more than Gerding's birth/death years.  So this post simply focuses on the examples of his work I selected.

The image above is cropped from a 1932 Pierce-Arrow advertisement.  Pierce-Arrow was a luxury brand in decline due to the Great Depression and strong competition from the likes of Packard and Cadillac.  I think Gerding did a fine job here, especially the lighting and use of color.  Media were probably watercolor and gouache.


The advertisement source of the image at the top of this post.

Now for three 1927 Pierce-Arrow ads by Gerding.  Here the car is incidental to the people in the foreground.

Gerding painted both the car and the setting.  Often a different artist was used for each type of subject because cars are not easy to render convincingly.  Perhaps the most famous example is the long-running Pontiac series illustrated by Art Fitzpatrick (cars) and Van Kaufman (setting and people).

Again, people in the foreground, car to the rear.

Another 1932 Pierce-Arrow ad.

And another.

This illustration (not signed, but attributed) is of a 1933 DeSoto.

Ultra-luxury Duesenberg cars for 1935 were advertised using black-and-white illustrations by Gerding featuring seriously wealthy looking people, but no cars in sight.

Around the time of World War 2, Gerding pained a number of scenes for Republic Steel advertisements.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Louis Fancher, Illustrator

Louis Fancher (1884-1944), Wikipedia entry here, seems to have experienced a career peak in the 1910s decade if Internet images of his work are any clue.

Of course his career lasted longer, but his approach remained poster-like throughout, because it seems he illustrated many posters and magazine covers and few if any magazine stories.

The early works shown below are flat, simplified representations.  Later, he gradually added modeling.


Scribner's Magazine poster - 1907
He was about 22 years old when he did this.

Pierce-Arrow poster - c.1910
Fancher is perhaps best known for his Pierce-Arrow posters.

Collier's cover - 18 February 1911
Collier's was a major general-interest magazine, ranking not far below the Saturday Evening Post.

Pierce-Arrow poster - 1911

Collier's cover - 26 October 1912
Another poster-style cover illustration.  In one sense, magazine covers are actually sales posters.

Simplex poster - 1916
A Pierce-Arrow competitor.

U.S. Army Air Service poster - c.1918
Fancher was in the Army during the Great War, but still had time to do poster art.

Southern Pacific poster - c.1918
Another patriotic wartime poster, this for a railroad.  Note the German helmet at the lower right.  Many had studs that could support an armor band over the front.  Here Fancher transforms the studs into devil's horns.

Judge Magazine cover - 2 April 1921
Changing style, but still a poster.

Collier's cover 3 August 1929
Flatness is pretty well eliminated here.  Not much like his earlier Pierce-Arrow work.

Collier's cover - 19 May 1934
An example of his later style.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Carroll Beckwith, American Painter

James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917), as noted here, studied under Carolus Duran "who in 1877 selected Beckwith and John Singer Sargent to help him with a mural for the Palais du Luxembourg."

So he had talent.  However, he was not a John Singer Sargent -- but few others were at that high level.

Nevertheless, he seems to have had a successful career, despite being mostly forgotten today.   Perhaps one reason for that was because he did not leave famous paintings.  Not even one.

Unfortunately, not all the paintings in the Gallery are dated.


Normandy Girl - 1883

Mark Twain - 1890

Grandmother's Love Letters - c.1895

Nita - 1897

Self-Portrait - 1898

Evelyn Nesbit - 1901
She was a participant in one of America's most famous scandals: her Wikipedia entry describes it.  Beckwith also made a half-nude portrait of her around the same time as this was painted.


The Authoress

The Terrace

Cathedral at Le Puy
An example of his langscape work.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Félix Ziem, Yet Another Painter of Venice

Félix Ziem (né Félix-Francois Georges Philibert Ziem: 1821-1911) was a financially successful artist, according to his Wikipedia entry.

His initial training was in architecture, which might help explain his interest in depicting places such as Venice and Constantinople.  However, his painting style was fairly loose, not like the precise, detailed presentation renderings expected of architects.  Other than whatever art instruction he received in architecture school, it seems he had little formal training.

Unless noted, titles of the images below are via the Internet.


Gondole à Venise
Note how loosely the building is painted.  I don't have a date for this painting, but I wonder if Ziem was influence by Impressionism.

Saint Mark from the Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice
The rendering here is more precise.

Venice - 1879
Ziem liked to include boats to add interest.

Venise gondole et voiliers sur le grand canal

Venise le grand-bassin

View of Grand Canal and Rialto bridge (my title)

Aqua Alta
Saint Mark's Square flooded.