1950-1960 Postwar Prosperities: Coby Whitmore

Maxwell Coburn Whitmore, better known as Coby Whitmore, was an American illustrator known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, and commercial artist whose work included advertisements for Gallo Wine and other national brands. He additionally became known as a race-car designer.

Coby Whitmore

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he studied at the Dayton Art Institute and honed his skills as an apprentice to illustrator Haddon Sundblom in Chicago before joining the Charles E. Cooper Studio in New York. Soon after, a steady stream of assignments for Ladies’ Home JournalMcCall’sRedbookCosmopolitan, and other women’s magazines brought him public acclaim.

Whitmore illustration for the March 28, 1953, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

ophisticated, with imaginative compositions, brilliant use of color, superb draftsmanship, and good taste, his pictures represented the “Good Life” in the post-war U.S. They are nearly all most notable for their glamorous women–the ideal of American youth, sophistication and beauty. 

The ladies are feisty, independent, know their own minds…the product of the new found weath and leisure of America in the 1950s and 60s.




60s Hero: Martin Sharp

Martin Ritchie Sharp was an Australian artist, cartoonist, songwriter and film-maker. Sharp made contributions to Australian and international culture from the early 1960s, and was called Australia’s foremost pop artist.

His psychedelic posters of Bob Dylan, Donovan and others, rank as classics of the genre. In his most popular designs, the artist embedded letters, photographs, and bizarre cartoon figures into psychedelic patterns.

Sharp’s Album Cover fro Cream

He studied at the National Art School in East Sydney. There, he co-produced a satirical broadsheet, The Arty Wild Oat. Through that project he met Richard Walsh, editor of the University of Sydney’s campus newspaper Honi Soit, and Richard Neville, who edited the University of NSW’s Tharunka.

The three of them soon set up a studio in a former horse stable in The Rocks where they created OZ magazine. It turned undergraduate humour into colourful, biting satire that critiqued conservative society. Sharp’s humorous, often lewd graphic style, was combined with an insistence that the best quality paper was used.

OZ magazine covers

They went on a hippie trip to Asia and decided to go to London right after. Once there they decided London could do with its own version of OZ magazine. It quickly became a counterculture magazine of artistic and political renown. By issue No.3 Martin Sharp’s art direction went psychedelic, selling up to 100,000 copies. OZ London became a graphic design landmark, lasting 48 issues from 1967 to 1973. It was also the subject of the longest obscenity trial in British history.

OZ No.3, 1957

In 2005 Sharp received an Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of service to the arts as a painter and graphic designer, particularly contributing to the POP art movement in Australia and providing support to emerging young artists. In 2012 he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Visual Arts from the University of Sydney and in 2013 he received a Fellowship from the National Art School.






1940-1950 The Golden Age Part 2: Stevan Dohanos

Stevan Dohanos was an artist and illustrator of the social realism school, best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, and responsible for several of the Don’t Talk set of World War II propaganda posters. He named Grant Wood and Edward Hopper as the greatest influences on his painting.

Stevan Dohanos in his studio.

He was in demand both for advertising and illustration assignments, and he was also commissioned to paint murals in public buildings in West Virginia, West Palm Beach, and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He was determined to try for the coveted job of creating covers for The Saturday Evening Post, and in 1943 he succeeded.

1951 The Saturday Evening Post cover by Stevan Dohanos
1948 he Saturday Evening Post cover by Stevan Dohanos

Dohanos was known for taking infinite pains in creating his illustrations. Often they reflected back to people and places from his childhood or incidents he observed in the countryside. Whatever scenes they represented, his paintings were illuminated by his kind humor and his passionate love for the American scene.

The Vacationers – 1951, Oil Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post

In addition to his more famous works, Dohanos oversaw the design of more than 300 commemorative postage stamps, including a 1959 stamp honouring the tenth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

NATO’s 10th Anniversary postage stamp





New York School Advertisements: Paul Rand

Born in Brooklyn in 1914, Rand was creative from a young age. He studied art at Pratt Institute in Manhattan and practiced drawing constantly. One of his first jobs was laying out product spreads for Apparel Arts, a popular men’s fashion magazine owned by Esquire. 

Apparel Arts magazine cover, 1939

Soon after that he started doing magazine covers. His work was instantly noticed. By his early 20s, Rand was considered one of the most important designers of his generation.

In 1941, at the age of 27, Rand was named chief art director of the newly-formed ad agency William H. Weintraub & Co. American advertising at the time had changed little since the late 19th Century, especially in terms of how the ads were conceived.

Ordinary 1940s cigarette ad

“Before Paul Rand, the copywriter was the lead,” says Donald Albrecht, the curator of the new exhibition. The copywriter would supply the words—often times a great many of them—and the words would dictate the layout of the ad, often drawn from one of several templates or formats.

Inspired by the bold graphic work being done in Europe, Rand brought a radically different approach to the job. As he saw it, an ad’s effectiveness lay in the way words and images were combined on the page. “Rand’s ads have words and pictures, but they’re all fused into one symbol,” Albrecht says. 

Paul Rand’s Frazer Advertising

Rand introduced a crucial new ingredient into commercial art: form. By paring down copy and breathing white space into his compositions, Rand made his advertisements stand out from the dense copy surrounding them.





1920-1940 The Golden Age Part 1: Pruett Carter

Pruett Carter was an American illustrator who taught at the Grand Central Art School and Chouinard Art Institute. Carter was born in 1891 in Missouri and grew up on an Indian Reservation. He studied in Los Angeles at the Art Students’ League. After that, he moved to New York to study under Robert Henri.

Woman In An Interior. Carter’s early work.

It looks like in his early work Pruett Carter stuck to the more traditional style of painting, which is why it’s now very distinguishable from most other painters. However, in Woman In An Interior you can already see his love for painting female beauty, which later became the main feature in his paintings and illustrations.

Friends and Lovers. Carter’s later work.

Here, in Friends and Lovers, he pictures a man and a woman sitting on the rocks by the sea. We can only see the back of the man’s head but the woman is portrayed as an icon – a modern goddess.

He was known for doing illustrations for women’s magazines, working in mainly oil and gouache.

Summer Sands. Illustration for a magazine.

Most times Carter would be his own art director and layout designer.

Rough sketch of Summer Sands.

However, one of my favorite of his works has got to be this beautiful magazine spread for the story “Security”. The woman in this illustration looks beautiful yet very vulnerable. She needs security and her man is it.



Tattered and Lost EPHEMERA: PRUETT CARTER lead me to a dead end

Pruett Carter (1891 – 1955) « AMERICAN GALLERY


1900-1920 Illustration’s Early Masters: Coles Phillips

Coles Philips was an American artist and illustrator who signed his early works C. Coles Phillips, but after 1911 worked under the abbreviated name, Coles Phillips. He is known for his stylish images of women and signature use of negative space in the paintings he created for advertisements and the covers of popular magazines.

Portrait of Coles Philips

The first two decades of the 1900’s saw dramatic changes in how artists portrayed American women in magazines and other media. Instead of the prim, proper, and idealized “Gibson girl” socialite of the 1890’s, the public was treated to an outpouring of more modern, active, and athletic images of women. Chief among the early creators of this “Golden Age of American Illustration” was Coles Phillips who popularized the “fade-away” style.

The work of Phillips quickly became popular with the Life readers. In May 1908, he created a cover for the magazine that featured his first “fadeaway girl” design with a figure whose clothing matched, and disappeared into, the background. Phillips developed this idea in many subsequent covers.

Coles Philips’ First “fadeaway” girl
Coles Philips’ Cover for LIFE magazine

Although Phillips was a cover artist, he saw no difference in painting for a magazine cover or painting for an advertisement.  His clients included Oneida silverware, Luxite Hosiery, Holeproof Hosiery, Palmolive, Wamsatta linens, and Naiad Dress Shields.

Advertisement by Coles Philips

Phillips also expanded by creating Fade Away Men.  Often these gentlemen were paired with a Fade Away Girl, especially in advertisements.

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Ad for Oneia Community Silver, by Coles Phillips, Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1911

Occasionally, the men would be featured independently for advertisements for men’s wear.

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Ad for Boston Garters, by C. Coles Phillips, Life, 1911




1860- 1900 Beginnings of the Golden Age: Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley, 1894

Aubrey Beardsley’s artistic career was remarkably impactful for its conciseness. In the seven years, he was able to draw and write before dying of tuberculosis, Beardsley developed a reputation as one of the most controversial artists of his time. The linear elegance of his designs coupled with the artist’s bizarre sense of humor and fascination with the taboo simultaneously intrigued and repelled his Victorian audience. His illustrations comprised characteristics of Aestheticism, Decadence, Symbolism, and, most apparently, Art Nouveau.

Most Impactful Work

He was greatly influenced by the elegant, curvilinear style of Art Nouveau and the bold sense of design found in Japanese woodcuts. But what startled his critics and the public alike was the obvious sensuality of the women in his drawings, which usually contained an element of morbid eroticism. This tendency became pronounced in his openly licentious illustrations (1896) for Aristophanes’ Lystrata.

Beardsley’s Lystrata Drawing

Although Beardsley was not homosexual, he was dismissed from The Yellow Book as part of the general revulsion against Aestheticism that followed the scandal surrounding Wilde in 1895. He then became principal illustrator of another new magazine, The Savoy.

Beardsley’s Yellow Book Illustration

In this illustration of the deathbed of Pierrot the clown for The Savoy magazine in London, Beardsley depicts what he described as “strange hermaphroditic characters wandering about in Pierrot costume.” Characteristic of the decadent notion that life is a performance; here the artist creates a theatrical atmosphere to convey that message.

Beardsley’s Deathbed of Pierrot, the Clown for the Savoy magazine






Post Modernism: Jeff Koons

Jeffrey Koons

is an American artist known for working with popular culture subjects and his reproductions of banal objects, such as balloonImage result for jeff koons animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces.

He is the epitome of Neo-Pop, a 1980s movement that looked to earlier Pop artists, particularly Warhol, for inspiration. His steel Balloon Dog sculptures, probably his best-known works, transpose an ephemeral childhood memory into an enduring form. His work looks cheap, but is expensive, an ingenious reversal of economic logic that forms the basis for his stunning commercial success.

Image result for jeff koons


Steel Baloon Dog sculpture

Balloon Flower (Red)

Koons’ most famous works to date are the towering sculptures inspired by balloon animals. This one stands over ten feet tall and weighs in excess of a ton. Its sumptuous skin, according to the artist, is intended to “manipulate and seduce,” like the Baroque decor of Christian cathedrals. Like the cheap, shiny rubber it is meant to imitate, the surface of Balloon Flower evokes the eternal appeal of precious metal.

Balloon Flower (Red)

Rendering of Play-Doh

For generations of adults, from the baby boomers to millennials, the mere sight of Play-Doh is nostalgic, conjuring the scent and tactile appeal of this strange, yet calming synthetic substance.

Rendering of Play- Doh






History Book Spread Survey #8

My task was to make a history book spread about art movements during the time period between 1905 and 1915. I chose to do my research on suprematism, Katrina did surrealism, and Joyce did the Harlem Renaissance. I decided to draw some symbolic illustrations to represent each category. I thought that the simple shapes and colours of suprematism would make a good and engaging border. I chose to put the title in the middle to draw the viewer’s attention to it. 

Survey 10: Weegee and NYC


Photograph of Weegee

Weegee was an iconic photographer throughout the Great Depression in the US. His main thing was capturing scenes of crime in New York City. He centered his practice around police headquarters and in 1938 obtained permission to install a police radio in his car. This allowed him to take the first and most sensational photographs of news events and offer them for sale to publications such as the Herald-Tribune, Daily News, Post, the Sun, and PM Weekly, among others. During the 1940s, Weegee’s photographs appeared outside the mainstream press and met success there as well.

The Beginning of His Career

Weegee worked at the PM Daily paper which established a new model of reportage that Weegee took full advantage of to introduce new subjects as well as expand his own repertoire of images to include crime scenes, street people, and circus performers. His photographs had their own meaning and served as a source for various kinds of photo-essays, which ultimately appear in his photo book Naked City.

Cover of Weegee’s photobook “Naked City”

Artwork Description & Analysis

In Marilyn Monroe Distortion, Weegee uses a kaleidoscope lens to manipulate a portrait he took of Marilyn Monroe. The distortion scrunches her facial features, making her puckering lips appear smaller, elongating her closed eyes, and turning her nose into a pig’s snout. The iconic beauty is transformed into a caricature.

Marilyn Monroe Distortion