Elijah Burgher

The Artwork of Elijah Burgher

Born in Kingston, New York in 1978, Elijah Burgher is an American artist who produces both figurative and abstract colored pencil drawings, paintings and prints of sigils. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and his Master of Fine Arts at Chicago’s Art Institute. Burgher currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work is represented by the Horton Gallery in Dallas, New York’s contemporary PPOW Gallery, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago. 

In his work, Elijah Burgher uses ideas from occult and magic traditions to address queer sexuality, sub-cultural formations, and the history of abstraction. He also creates sigils, symbols of magical power, inspired by different esoteric systems, including the works of English illustrator and occultist Austin Osman Spare, who trained as a draughtsman at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Burgher’s sigils encode symbols of wishes and desires through their shape, and the compositions of their elements and color.

Burghers colored pencil drawings of nude male figures, often featuring images of friends,  illustrate scenes from his daily life and environment. Acting as ritual relics, they have an erotic quality that anchors their abstract components into reality. 

Elijah Burgher had solo exhibitions of his work in several galleries including the 2018 “Nudes in  the Forest” at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; “Bachelors” at New York’s Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in 2016; and “Elijah Burgher, Topple the Table of Correspondences’ in 2011 at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, among others. As a resident artist at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Burgher has had several solo exhibitions in its gallery from 2012 to 2020. 

Burgher has also shown his work in multiple group exhibitions from 2000 to 2021, including the 2014 Gwangin Biennial, Asia’s most important contemporary art exhibition which was held in the Republic of Korea; New York City’s 2014 Whitney Biennial; “The Temptation of AA Bronson” exhibition held in 2013 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 2020 “intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond” held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Secret Language” held in 2021 at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, among others.

In 2011, Elijah Burgher held a Residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York City and a Fire Island Artist Residency in Long Island, New York.

Note: an interview with Elijah Burgher can be found at the Inside/Within web art archive located at: http://insidewithin.com/elijah-burgher/

Elijah Burgher’s works can be found at the P.P.O.W. Gallery site located at https://www.ppowgallery.com/artists/elijah-burgher#tab:thumbnails

Bottom Insert Image: Elijah Burgher,, “Bachelor with Demons (Sleezy)”, 2015, Colored Pencil on Paper

Charles Dean Cornwell

The Artwork of Dean Cornwell

Born in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1892, Charles Dean Cornwell was an illustrator and muralist who was a dominant presence in American illustration during the first half of the twentieth- century. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, Cornwell found employment with the art department of the Chicago Tribune and began studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he studied under educator and painter Harvey Dunn, a prominent student of illustrator Howard Pyle and a member of the Brandywine School collective.

In 1915, Dean Cornwell traveled to New Rochelle, New York, well known for its established art colony, and studied under Dunn at the Art Students League in New York City where he eventually developed his own light-imbued style. In 1918 in Chicago, Cornwell married artist Mildred Montrose Kirkham, who also studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They had two children; however, due to Cornwell’s constant extramarital affairs, they separated after a few years but never divorced.

Possessing a strong work ethic, Cornwell often worked seventeen hours a day and through the entire week. His illustrations appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States including Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In 1926, Cornwell signed a long-term contract with Cosmopolitan for an annual salary of one-hundred thousand dollars, equivalent to over a million dollars today.

Dean Cornwell illustrated the novels of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, W. Somerset Maugham, and short story writer Edna Ferber. He also illustrated posters to support the United States war efforts in three major conflicts, the Korean War effort and both the first and second World Wars. Through his career, Cornwell  did advertising for hundreds of companies including General Motors, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Goodyear, and New York Life; he also illustrated ads for such products as Coca-Cola, Seagram’s Gin, and Palmolive Soap. 

Deciding to dedicate the rest of his career to mural painting, Cornwell  traveled  to London in 1927, where he apprenticed to the painter Sir Frank William Brangwyn for a three-year study of mural painting. He assisted Brangwyn in a series of murals, including the British Empire Panels designed for the House of Lords. These panels, begun in 1925 and completed in 1932, were not hung in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords as intended. Considered too lively and colorful, the panels were housed in a specially built hall in Swansea. 

The most renowned of Dean Cornwell’s murals is the Los Angeles Public Library’s  twelve-panel “History of California” which encircles the Grand Rotunda. Painted on linen canvases and finished in 1933,  the forty-foot tall panels took five years to complete. Cornwell, having used all the funding after two years, took on illustrative work to finance the project to its completion. His other murals include, among others, those for the General Motors exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York’s Hotel Warwick’s Raleigh Room, the Easter Airlines building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), Boston’s New England Telephone headquarters building, and the William Rappard Center in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cornwell lectured and taught at New York’s Art Students League. From 1922 to 1926, he served as the president of the Society of Illustrators and was elected into its Hall of Fame in 1959. Cornwall was elected in `923 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and achieved full status in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters for four years beginning in 1953. Charles Dean Cornwell died at the age of sixty-eight in New York City on December 4th of 1960. A collection of his papers, correspondence, sketches, scrapbooks and photographs are housed in the Archives of American Art located in the Victor Building in Washington, DC. 

Note: A very extensive article on Dean Cornwell, complete with family history, can be found at the PulpArtists website: https://www.pulpartists.com/Cornwell.html

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell in Studio”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Inset Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, 58.4 x 38.1 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell, Los Angeles Public Library”, 1933, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Benoit Prévot

The Artwork of Benoit Prévot

Born in the Ardennes region between France and Belgium in 1968, Benoit Prévot is a French illustrator and comic artist. A graduate of EMSAT, he has worked at various design and advertising studios. Prévot received formal training at the CFT Gobelins, a Paris school for visual communication and the arts,  after which he worked on several animated television series. Throughout his career, he has created artwork for comic books and fanzines, as well as illustrated book covers and promotional posters. 

Prévot’s more current and  personal work, reminiscent of illustrations produced in the 1920s, often displays a stylish homoerotic atmosphere. Although his favorite medium is ink and graphite on paper, Prévot has also produced works with watercolors and oil paints. 

Benoit Prévot is the writer and illustrator for Class Comics’s “Angelface”, a graphic novel series set in the 1920’s era of prohibition, which was epitomized by that era’s illicit liquor bars, swing music, and loose morals. The illustrated series combines the elegance of that era with Prévot’s stylish homoeroticism. The story of Alan, known as Angelface, and his lover Red conjures up the glamour of upper-class wealth and Trans-Atlantic ocean liner travel as well as the grime of the working class world which Alan and Red want to escape. 

Prévot’s work has been shown at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City and has been shown regularly at the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festivals. Issues of the graphic novel “Angelface” were donated in 2011 to the Tom of Finland Foundation. Benoit Prévot currently lives and works in Paris. 

Bottom Insert Image: Benoit Prévot, “Décolleté”, Date Unknown

 

Orla Muff

Orla Muff, “Nana”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 45.1 x 55.3 cm, Private Collection

Born in April of 1903 in Copenhagen, Orla Andreas Heinrik Jacobsen was a Danish painter and illustrator. From 1917 to 1921, he received his formal art education at the Copenhagen Technical School under Carl Lund, the leading theatrical artist of the time. In 1917, he adopted a change in name to Orla Muff. 

In 1918, Muff was awarded a distinguished seat at the Day’s Drawing Concourse, an event held by Children’s Aid, and had his first drawing printed on a postcard. In the same year he drew one hundred different illustrations depicting gnomes for a series of postcards, which was released in large editions several times. Muff’s illustrations for the early postcards were signed with an intertwined O and J standing for Orla Jacobsen. He continued to design postcards until the late 1960s; these later works were signed with Orla Muff.

After his studies with Carl Lund, Orla Muff began a period of travel through Europe where he studied in Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. He achieved acclaim early in his career as a designer of elaborate Art Deco styled sets for prominent European revues and theatrical productions. Included among these designs were sets for performances at Copenhagen’s Folk Theater, Austrian-born theatrical producer Max Reinhardt’s Theater in Berlin, and Norway’s Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

In addition to his set designs, Muff began easel painting in the early 1930s; he created portraits, figurative works, and abstract paintings. His work is characterized by a refined sophistication and a predominantly light-toned color scale. Muff’s abstract compositions, executed in the styles of the Art Deco and Cubist movements, often contain mythologically inspired figures set in largely monochromatic backgrounds. 

Painted in his early thirties, Orla Muff’s 1934 “Nana” is an Art Deco derived, Expressionist oil portrait of a young, high-spirited woman, shown smoking a cigarette and set against a mottled turquoise background. Muff’s use of strong lighting effects produced a dramatic and psychologically penetrating portrait of this young woman.

During the course of his career, Orla Muff exhibited successfully in many European exhibitions and was the recipient of juried awards and prizes. Among his notable works are “Leda and the Swan” exhibited in 1940; the 1940 oil on canvas “Tropical Jungle Women”; a 1947 series of wooden sculptural figures based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales;  a 1957 series of illustrations from the Bible for use in films; and posters, costume designs, and theater decorations executed in 1921 and 1922  for performances of Anderson’s tales at the Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

Orla Muff died in the city of Copenhagen in December of 1984. A small collection of personal correspondence from Orla Muff to Dr. Raymond Piper, as well as a photo of the artist and photos of Muff’s artwork, can be found in the Special Collections of the University of West Georgia.

Notes: An extensive collection of Orla Muff’s illustrated postcards can be found at the Danish Postcard Artists site located at: https://www.piaper.dk/postkortkunstnere/Postkortkunstnere/Orla_Muff/Orla_Muff.htm   

A collection of fifty-five images of Orla Muff’s music sheet covers is located at the online Illustrated Sheet Music site: https://www.imagesmusicales.be/search/illustrator/Muff/11874/ShowImages/80/Submit/

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Orla Muff”, Date Unknown, Collection of the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen

Second Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Smaragden”, Composer Einar Cronhammer, 1923

Third Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Han är Söt och Rar”, Composer Harald Mortensen, 1925

Bottom Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Femina”, Composer Sven Rüno, 1923

Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins

The Artwork of Jess Collins

Born in Long Beach, California in August of 1923, Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins was an American visual artist best known for his elaborate collages that addressed science, mysticism, sexuality, history and popular culture. In his early years, he read books which ranged from Proust to L. Frank Baum, listened to classical music, and constructed scrapbooks with a great aunt. 

In 1942, Jess Collins entered the California Institute of Technology to study chemistry; however with the start of World War II, he was drafted in 1943 into the Army Corps of Engineers.  Collins worked in a junior position at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for atomic bombs until 1946. Upon his release from military service, he continued his education at California Institute and graduated with honors in the field of radiochemistry. Collins was given a position at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

During his employment at the Hanford site, Jess Collins began adult education classes to study painting. Due to his growing concerns about the nature of his work in the atomic energy sector and the future of the industry, he left his position and decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts. Collins moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to study art: first at the University of California at Berkeley and later at the California School of Fine Arts. Due to an estrangement with his family, Collins changed his name during this period of study to the singular Jess.

At the California School of Fine Arts, Jess studied with visual artist Elmer Bischoff, a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area; abstractionist painter Edward Corbett, known for his use of the color black in his work; painter Hassel Smith, whose work went through a succession of art forms from plein air to figurative expressionism; and Clyfford Still, whose work encompassed a wide range of materials. Jess quickly became a member of the 1950s San Francisco art scene and was actively engaged in exhibitions, poetry readings and other creative activities in the area. 

In 1951, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, a member of the Black Mountain College and one of the most influential post-war American poets. They began a lifelong romantic relationship that evolved into a domestic household and an artistic collaboration that became central to the development of their art and poetry. This relationship lasted until Duncan’s death in 1968, thirty-seven years later. Along with abstract expressionist Harry Jacobus, Jess and Duncan opened the King Ubu Gallery in 1952, a venue which became an important exhibition space for alternative art in San Francisco.

Inspired by a gift from Duncan of “ Une Semaine de Bonté”, Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book, Jess began making collages, or Paste-Ups, in the early 1950s. These works, which combined text and image fragments from engravings, photographs, jigsaw pieces, and comic strips, became increasingly more complex over time. Eventually the Paste-Ups would contain thousands of distinct pieces. In 1959, Jess began a series of thirty-two works, entitled “Translation”. Each of the works were painted, enlarged reproductions of found images, such as children’s book illustrations and scientific drawings from old Scientific American periodicals, After being copied on new canvases, the paintings were combined with literary texts from such authors as William Blake, Gertrude Stein, and Plato.

The “Scavenger” series was based on painted or repainted canvases found in  thrift shops. Thick layers of paint were applied covering parts of the former works while leaving other image areas exposed for viewing. Built in layers, the thick new paint reinterpreted the existing work with its added texture and images. The 1959 “Narkossos” began as a pencil drawing for a painting that was based on the myth of Narcissus. This initial drawing became a large scale mixed-media work of graphite rendering and paste-up fragments featuring references from literary and popular culture. This large-scale work with original artist’s frame is currently housed in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

For the remainder of his life, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco except for a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-1950s to Europe and the Black Mountain College. The couple entertained their extensive but intimate circle of friends at their large Victorian home in the Mission District. The household was filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Duncan’s vast library, the couple’s recorded music collection, and many beautiful domestic objects salvaged by Jess from thrift shops. Jess had a major retrospective of his work in 1993-1994 which toured museums in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Washington, DC. 

Jess died of natural causes at his San Francisco home on the second of January in 2004 at the age of eighty. His work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco. His work is now represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.

Note: The Jess Collins Trust established an archive for Jess’s papers and writings in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Trust, which contains images of Jess’s work, exhibition and event information, and information on Robert Duncan’s work, can be found at: https://jesscollins.org

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess, Berkeley, California”, 1956-57, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Helen Adam, “Jess Collins, Beach Near Pidgeon Point”, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Jess Collins, “Untitled (Car and Male Nude), Date Unknown, Collage, 30.5 x 20.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess Collins and Robert Duncan, Stinson Beach”, 1958-59

Joseph Meehan

Illustrations by Joseph Meehan

Joseph Meehan is an American freelance illustrator and concept artist who currently lives and works in New York. He studied at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Toy Design. 

Meehan worked initially as an intern at Hasbro where he designed toys fo the GI Joe series, and also did preliminary work for “GI Joe: The Movie”. Beginning in September of 2011, he worked for three years at Mattel where he designed action figures, vehicles, and created new features and play patterns for its Batman action-figure line. 

In September of 2014, Joseph Meehan began working freelance at Volta Studio in New York, a design studio dedicated to creating high-end 2D and 3D visuals for video games, films and toys.  As a Senior Artist, he created illustrations and concept art for a wide range of products, such as mobil games, trading cards, and triple-A games. In October of 2020, Meehan became a full-time Senior Illustrator at Rockstar Games in New York City. 

Meehan is skilled in a multitude of software graphic systems including Keyshot, Photoshop, Adobe Creative Suite, ZBrush, and Solidworks. Meehan has produced artwork for numerous leading names including Random House, Wizards of the Coast, Bioware, Bethesda, Ubisoft, NetherRealms, Hasbro, and Mattel. among others.

Joseph Meehan’s work and contact information can be found at his website:   https://www.josephmeehanart.com 

Note: Joseph Meehan designed many illustrations over the years for “Magic the Gathering”. He is currently creating a set of ten laser marked, ink washed anodized aluminum tokens to be used within “Magic the Gathering”. Examples of these can be seen on his Kickstarter site: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/josephmeehanart/joseph-meehans-hand-made-metal-tokens?fbclid=IwAR3BwmS8ZDadXgWnvjj30ZKq-G_Rg9pC-Y4GZLInHStC8CdmHeGR_LkhlH8 

Bottom Insert Image: Joseph Meehan, “Barbarian Warchief”

Nicholas Moegly

Illustrations by Nicholas Moegly

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Nicholas Moegly is a freelance illustrator and graphic artist who specializes in nostalgic, mostly dark imagery with a focus on light and shadows. An early influence on his work was the paintings of realist artist Edward Hopper whose scenarios of light and shadow gave an intimate perspective on urban life. Later in his career, images of scenes photographed at night became a prominent source of layout reference for Moegly’s initial sketch work.

In his early career, Moegly worked for several agencies in the Cincinnati area where he created graphic designs for advertising, packaging, and branding. Beginning a career as a freelance artist in 2016, he worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies and international beverage and apparel brands. Moegly has designed posters and music collection images for several Grammy-winning artists, such as The Dave Matthews Band, The Avett Brothers, and John Prine, among others.

Nicholas Moegly’s illustrations largely focuses on the normal, quiet landscapes of suburbia in the midwestern part of the United States. Done in a realistic style, his work is executed with great attention to perspective and the smallest detail. Nostalgic and expressing a sense of urban isolation, Moegly’s images often feature surreal details that lend an unworldly mystery to their conventional appearance. Scenes of local shops and urban homes might contain an oddly lit window in a dark, fog-bound dwelling, forest animals on the lawn or in a deserted classroom, or a lit desk lamp on the front sidewalk with no source for its electricity.

Moegly has produced many hand-drawn, screen printed editions of concert and gig posters which were made available in limited editions of one hundred. In addition to his personal work as an artist, he is now working as a software development lead in the digital enablement department at Moog Incorporated. Moegly continues to live and work in the Cincinnati area of Ohio.

Nicholas Moegly’s website, containing contact information and an online store, is located at: http://www.nicholasmoegly.com

A more complete collection of Nicholas Moegly’s work can be found at his Instagram site: https://www.instagram.com/nicholasmoegly/?hl=en

Alireza Shojaian

The Artwork of Alireza Shojaian

Born in Tehran in September of 1988, Alireza Shojaian is an Iranian artist. Shojaian received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Tehran’s Islamic Azad University in 2014. Encouraged in his art studies by one of his professors, he began to explore his queer identity in his work through themes and narratives. Shojaian pursued his Masters of Fine Arts for two years at the Islamic Azad University; however, as his final thesis project was queer art, he was denied his degree.

In 2015, Shojaian’s artwork, the majority of which were prints,  appeared in several group exhibitions in Tehran including shows at Laleh Art Gallery and Vista Art Gallery. He also exhibited work at the 2015 Printmaking Exhibition held at the Cultural Section of the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire.

The prevalent theme in Alireza Shojaian’s work is homosexuality in both identity and relationships. His work reflects on his own personal experiences as a queer person and the queer history of western Asia and its context in present society. Created with acrylics and color pencils, Shojaian’s images depict male figures, most often nude, in both portrait form and group presentations. His drawings present intimate relationships, often entwined and embracing, sometimes fighting; however, they all attempt to present real stories that are mutual to all human beings. Through his art, Shojaian attempts to fight societal prejudice against LGBTQ people and make space for non-heteronormative masculine identities.

Unable to exhibit work dealing with issues affecting the queer community in an open dialogue with the Iranian people, Shojaian relocated in 2016 to Beirut, Lebanon, as a place with more freedom to develop his art and identity. His university professor in Tehran, who knew of Shojaian’s sexual orientation, connected him with the owner of the ArtLab Gallery in Beirut, Antoine Haddad, who offered him a solo show. Shojaian entered the Beirut art scene with two solo exhibitions at the Artlab Gallery: the 2017 “Corpe à Corps” and “Sweet Blasphemy” held in 2018. 

The title for the “Sweet Blasphemy” exhibition was taken from Turkish writer Elif Shafak’s novel entitled “The Forty Rules of Love”. This exhibition was centered on the love story of Persian poet Jalai ad-Din Muhammed Rumi and fellow poet Shams-i-Tabrizi. After years living together in the Turkish city of Konya, Shams left Rumi, who after Sham’s untimely death dedicated his writings to his departed lover. The main image of the show consisted of a partially nude male figure, either asleep or dead, lying on a white blanket. Eight additional drawings, all modeled by Lebanese artist Mo Khansa, were included in the highly successful sold-out show. 

Alireza Shojaian exhibited his work at the Beirut Art Fair in 2017 and 2018. He relocated to Paris in 2019 after being offered by the French Embassy in Lebanon an art residency with the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Shojaian served as resident-in-art at La Villa les Pinsons in 2019 to 2020 and at Château de Lourmarin in 2021. His work was most recently presented in “Ombres D’Hommes” held at Nice’s Depardieu Gallery and in a group exhibition at Paris’s Lafalande Gallery, both in 2021.

Alireza Shojaian’s personal website, containing images, contact information and press coverage, can be found at: https://www.alirezashojaian.com

Note: A more extensive biography on Alireza Shojaian, including images of his work, can be found in the November 30th of 2018 issue of Queer Here located at: https://wearequeerhere.com/queerart

Middle Insert Image: Alireza Shojaian, “Remi”, 2021, Acrylic and Color Pencil, 60 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Jim French

The Photography of Jim French

Born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in July of 1932, James Thomas French was an American artist, photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, and publisher. He is best known for his association with COLT Studio, one of the most successful gay male erotica companies in the United States.

For his formal art education, Jim French entered the Philadelphia Museum School of Art in 1950 to study towards a career in fashion illustration similar to that of J.C. Leyendecker. In 1953, the year before his graduation from the Museum School, he joined the United States Army Reserves and went on active duty in 1955; French earned a honorable discharge from service in 1957. Settled in New York City, he pursued a successful freelance career as an advertising illustrator for several Madison Avenue advertising firms. 

In addition to his work for Neiman Marcus and other high-end department stores, French also created textile designs for designer Tammis Keefe; collections of her work are now housed in Cooper Union and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working with Columbia Records, he created portrait drawings of singers, such as Johnny Mathis. Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas, for use as album art. While working on Madison Avenue in the mid-1960s, French drew homoerotic drawings in his spare time, under the pseudonym of Arion. His drawings were offered in 1966 through Ed Wild’s Times Square Studio as well as his own short-lived mail order venture, the Arion Studio. 

Jim French was approached by a friend from his Army days, Saul Stollman, who had seen some of his Arion drawings, to create a physique studio in New York City. French adopted a new pseudonym for this venture, Kurt Lüger, and under the name of Lüger Studios began producing new, more masculine figured illustrations, which featured leather men, cowboys, wrestlers, and other similar archetypes. Lüger Studio artwork first appeared as two drawings from the “Cowboy” series in the May/June 1966 issue of “Young Physique”. This series of six to eight drawings was advertised in other male erotica magazines and was available for purchase through mail order. 

The success of Lüger Studio developed quickly after being featured in the pages and on the covers of a wide assortment of physique magazines. Saul Stollman bought out French’s interests in the studio in February of 1968 and briefly ran the business on his own. However, now featuring photographs and eight millimeter films from substandard producers, Lüger Studio did not attract enough interest to survive beyond 1968. 

On December 5th of 1967, Jim French and Lou Thomas, a friend and astute businessman, took out a business license to form COLT Studio. Although originally named to evoke the image of the Colt pistol, the studio quickly changed its COLT image to that of a stallion. For this new venture, French adopted a new pseudonym, Rip Colt, and began to make highly detailed pencil drawings, using the newly marketed Polaroid camera to shoot photographs of male models for research studies. Before the camera’s  advent, it had been a challenge getting erotic subject matter that was shot on film processed as many venues were reluctant to deal with this material. The Polaroid camera which contained its own processor solved that issue with its instant results. 

In the initial years of the company, COLT Studio released French’s illustrations, under the Rip Colt name, and photo sets of masculine male models, The studio eventually added short films, magazines and calendars. Based for six years in New York City, COLT Studio was relocated in 1974 to Studio City in California, due to French’s frequent travels to Southern California. At this time, French bought the company shares owned by his partner Lou Thomas, who soon formed his own business, Target Studios, a venture which provided the underground demographic with quality homoerotic art and film. 

COLT Studio grew into one of the most successful gay photography studios of its time and offered the highest quality male erotica commercially available. Jim French’s company was famous not only for its stable of male models, but also for its magazine brands which included Spurs, COLT Men, Manpower, and its film venue, COLT Studios Presents. French ran the company until 2003 when he sold the studio to former Falcon Studios director John Rutherford and his partner Tom Settle. For a few years after the sale of COLT Studio, Jim French continued to privately sell salon-style prints of his photographs before he settled into quiet retirement. Jim French died peacefully in his sleep at his Palm Springs, California, home on the 15th of June in 2017. He was  survived by his husband Jeff Turner.

Under his own publishing imprint State of Man, Jim French published eight volumes of fine art male photography from 1972 to 1999, among which are “Man”, “Quorum”, “The Art of Jim French: the Nude Male”, and “Opus Deorum”. French’s work has been published in several collections: Felix Lance Falkon’s 1972 “A Historic Collection of Gay Art”; a collection of early 1970s photographs of model David Scrivanek entitled “Like a Moth to a Flame”; and an anthology of his early Polaroid photographs from the 1960s and early 1970s entitled “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: Jim French Polaroids”. French’s photographs and illustrations can be found in many private and public collections.

Notes: In 2004, Gabriel Goldberg convinced Jim French to tell his own story to the public for the first time. This personal account entitled “Life Thru a Lens: Jim French: In His Own Words” can be found at the Advocate online magazine located at: https://www.advocate.com/people/2017/6/29/story-jim-french-and-colt

Many of Jim French’s Polaroid photographs can be found at the Wessel and O’Connor Fine Art website located at:  https://wesseloconnor.com/exhibits/french/french1.phpd

Second Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled (Sailor with Shadow), Polaroid Print, 10.8 x 8.3 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled (Sailor), Polaroid Print, 10.8 x 8.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled, circa 1970s, Gelatin Silver Print, 56.5 x 71.7 cm, Private Collection

Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, “Rabbit on a Chair”, 1944, Pencil and Crayon on Paper, 48 x 31 cm, Private Collection

Born in Berlin in December of 1922, Lucien Michael Freud was a British painter and draftsman. He was the son of British architect Ernst L. Freud and the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Lucien Freud’s “Rabbit on a Chair”, a pencil and crayon drawing executed in 1944, is one of his most refined and charming early works. It is a good example of his fascination with nature and his ability to express tone, texture, and shape.

Due to his upbringing and studies at London’s Central School of Art, Freud was probably familiar with Jean-Baptiste-Saméon Chardin’s finely executed watercolor and gouache depictions of rabbits or hares. and Albrecht Dürer’s 1502 “Young Hare”, widely produced in the early twentieth-century as a print. Dürer gradually animated his hare’s body by the use of a dry, small paintbrush to slowly build up the hair. Freud’s rabbit is executed with clean lines outlining the body of the animal and small pencil marks which move and curtl in the various directions of real fur.

Every fine detail of the rabbit, from its black whiskers and white tail to its mottled, golden-brown pelt, is a testament to Lucien Freud’s skilled draftsmanship. He used equal care in the execution of the rabbit’s resting place, a cane chair with its broken cane fronds and fallen shadows. Completed in two tones of mustard yellow and brown, the chair seat makes a geometrical and patterned backdrop for the rabbit. The seat’s vertical and horizontal lines fix the rabbit in place and draw the viewers’ eyes to the center of the picture plane. This use of background pattern also appears in Freud’s 1987 “Blonde Girl on a Bed”, in which the figure is depicted resting on a patterned bedspread.

Note: A short biography on the life and art of Lucien Freud, which included an image of his 1967-1968 “Two Men”, was published on this site in October of 2020. 

Insert Image: Clifford Coffin, “Lucien Freud”, March 1947 Studio Shoot, Silver Gelatin Print, Vogue Online September 2019

Maurice Sendak: “Where the Wild Things Are”

Photographers Unknown,  Where the Wild Things Are

Max stepped into his private boat
and waved goodbye
and sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”

—Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

Born to Polish Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, in June of 1928, Maurice Bernard Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. He was affected in his childhood by the deaths of many of his extended family who perished in the Holocaust. An early reader of books, Sendak decided at the age of twelve to become an illustrator after seeing Walt Disney’s film “Fantasia”.

Sendak started his professional career with the creation of window displays, one of which was in the toy store FAO Schwarz located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. His first published illustrations, a series of figures explaining the atom and its energy, were in the 1947 textbook “Atomics for the Millions” written by Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. In the 1950s, Sendak illustrated children’s books written by other authors, including two books written by his older brother, author Jack Sendak, and the “Little Bear” series of books written by Danish-American author Else Holmelund Minarik.

In 1956 Maurice Sendak published his first authored book, “Kenny’s Window”. and soon started working on second effort, for which he was inspired to use the Yiddish expression ‘vilde chaya”, or wild animals, to indicate overexcited children. Sendak’s authored and illustrated 1963 children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” received international acclaim. Initially banned for two years by libraries and critiqued negatively, the book won the annual Caldecott Medal in 1964 for recognition as the most distinguished American illustrated book for children. Since its publication, it has sold over nineteen million copies worldwide.

Sendak illustrated Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first children’s book “Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, which was published in 1966 and received the Newbery Honor for children’s literature. He authored and illustrated the 1970 “In the Night Kitchen”, a young boy’s dream journey through a surreal baker’s kitchen, one of a trilogy of books which contains “Where the Wild Things Are” and the 1981 “Outside Over There”. Illustrated in a different style from his previous works, the book is mainly pictorial with few captions. “In the Night Kitchen”, with its depiction of the young protagonist’s nudity, was controversial upon its release and is still ranked as one of the most frequently challenged books. 

Maurice Sendak’s works included many in the fields of television and stage. He was active in the development of the “Sesame Street” series, and wrote and designed four stories for the series, including an adaption of his book “Bumble Ardy” into an animated film. Sendak adapted his “Where the Wild Things Are’ into a stage production in 1979, and also designed sets for many operas and ballets, including Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker:, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”,  and Prokofiev’s “The Love for Three Oranges”.

In 1957, Maurice Sendak met his partner, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, with whom he remained for fifty years until Glynn’s death in May of 2007. After his partner’s death, he donated one million dollars to the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in memory of Glynn, who had treated children and young adults there. While his sexuality was known among his friends, Sendak kept his sexuality from public view for almost his entire life. When the social climate regarding homosexuality began to change, he  came out, at the age of eighty years old, during a 2008 interview with the New York Times.

Considered one of the most important children’s book artists of the twentieth century, Maurice Sendak died on May 8th of 2012 at the Danbury Hospital in Conneticutt from stroke complications. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered at an unconfirmed location. Under an agreement with, and supported by a grant from, the Maurice Sendak Foundation, his original artwork, sketches, books, and other materials, totaling close to ten thousand items, are housed at the University of Conneticutt’s Archives and Special Collections in the Thomas J Dodd Research Center.

Guillermo Martin Bermejo

The Drawings of Guillermo Martin Bermejo

Born in 1971, Guillermo Martin Bermejo is a Spanish Postwar and Contemporary artist who is currently based in a small village north of Madrid. Influenced by the works of French novelist Marcel Proust and Swiss painter and graphic artist Otto Meyer-Andem, Bermejo’s pencil drawings reference both historical paintings and literature to form a very personal world. 

Drawn in pencil on pages from second-hand notebooks and the covers of paperback books, Bermejo’s  work, although deceptively simple in composition, is woven with his own life experiences and memories. While some of his drawings are simple portraits, others portray elaborate scenes which contain the settings and the traditions of village life in the mountainous area of norther Spain. 

Guillermo Bermejo’ stylized figures, often taken from history, appear in subtly altered scenes taken from renowned artworks,  These figurative scenes act, in a visual sense, as legends in which the total story is understood only through the underlying meaning of the objects placed in the tableaux. An example of this is found in Bermejo’s 2020 “Aschenbach’s Dream”,  a drawing which relates to an interpretation of Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, drawn with figures from Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film of the same name . 

Guillermo Martin Bermejo’s work has appeared at the 2018 exhibition at Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, the Museo Carmen Thyssea Malaga in 2017, and the 2016 exhibiton at the Fundación Santiago y Segundo Momes in Valladolid. His most recent solo exhibition , entitled “La Pleyade de la Espana Moderna”, was held in 2019-2020 at Madrid’s Museo Lázaro Galdiano. Bermejo also exhibited at the 2020 Modern and Contemporary Art Fair in London. He is  currently represented by the James Freeman Gallery in London.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid acquired a series of twelve drawings by Bremejo in 2020 for the collection. His works appear in a number of notable collections, including the Koc Collection in Istanbul, the Caja Collection in Madird, the Marine International Bureau in Mónaco, and the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

Ego Rodriguez

The Illustrative Work of Ego Rodriguez

Born in Gijón, Spain, in 1976, Ego Rodriguez is a self-taught, freelance graphic designer who has been based in the East End of London for the last twenty years. Born into an artistic family and initially trained by his parents in the arts, he began drawing in sketchbooks at an early age. Rodriguez’s work is currently focused on digital media; but he also creates work in acrylics, inks, mixed media, and watercolor.

Inspired by the fashion illustrations of Antonio López and Stefano Canulli, Rodriguez’s illustrative work is predominately  portraiture, done with well-defined aesthetics, clean edges, bold strokes, and contrasting colors, similar in style to the fashion illustrations of René Gruau, one of the best known artists of the haute couture world during the 1940s and 1950s. The central part of Rodriguez’s work has formed around his homoerotic images of male figures and his film world images due to their popularity.

In the beginning of Rodriguez’s art career, commissioned portraits for friends formed the basis of his art. Since then, his current body of work has included postcards, editorial work, logos, websites, wall paintings, and illustrative work for magazines, both online and published. Some of his clients have been Attitude, QX Magazine, Gay Times, and The Advocate. Rodriguez has also contributed work for The Pigeon Hole, an online global book club, and Swide, an online luxury magazine. 

Ego Rodriguez’s exhibition entitled “Macho” was featured in 2012 and 2014 in London, and also has been shown at Pride events worldwide.

More images, information on commissions, and contact can be found at the artist’s site: https://www.egorodriguez.com

Robert Littleford

 

Robert Littleford, “Acrobat”, 2019

Robert Littleford is an illustrator and designer. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London, where he earned his Master’s Degree in Illustration. Littleford’s work is mainly figurative and naive in style; his figures usually appear without facial definition and with extremities undefined. The influences on his work include the figurative, populist style of painter Fernand Leger, the pop art of David Hockney, and the ethnographical works of Henri Rousseau.

Littleford has exhibited his work at solo and group shows in London, New York, and Los Angeles. His paintings and illustrations have appeared in publications and advertisements, including The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. Littleford has also created designs for both textiles and tshirts for such clients as Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Jeff Banks, and Paul Smith.

Robert Littleford is the designer and illustrator for “Adventure Walk Maps”, a city map series for London, Paris, Rome, and New York, among others. He was the illustrator for Bruce Bromley’s poetry book, “The Life in the Sky Comes Down: Essays, Stories, Essay/Story”, which examines life in New York after the Twin Towers fell.  Littleford also illustrated Philip Dundas’s novel “Daniel, at Sea”, an old man’s life story from Franco’s Spain to the eastern coast of the United States. He is the author and illustrator of “The Yellow Coyote”.

“Drawing is the spiritual heart of many processes in art, from architecture and design to painting and sculpture.  In a world increasingly dominated by digital representation, my practice seeks to explore and raise the profile of the importance of the human connection and fascination with the hand-drawn.’   —Robert Littleford

The artist’s site is located at: https://hand-drawn.site

Max Bernuth

Max Bernuth, “Ringende Jûnglinge (Ringing Youngsters)“, 1913, Oil on Canvas on Chipboard, 90 x 69 cm, Private Collection

Born in July of 1872 in Leipzig, Germany, Friedrich Albin Max Bernuth was a painter, book illustrator, and educator. After completing his primary education at a community school in Leipzig, he became an apprentice at a lithographic firm and was able, with a scholarship, to study at the Leipzig Academy. Bernuth, through the mediation of renowned print maker Max Klinger, was given patronage to study at the prestigious Munich Academy under Professor Alexander von Liezen-Mayer, the Hungarian-born illustrator and history painter.

Bernuth, in the period between 1894 to 1902, lived and worked in the cities of Munich and Innsbruck; it was in this period that he produced his most known works. His reputation as an illustrator grew, beginning with his employment at the illustrated weekly magazine “Die Jugend (Youth)”, founded in 1896 to promote new trends in the arts. Many of Bernuth’s lithographs and drawings of glass makers and woodworkers, created during his trips to the Bavarian Forest area of Germany, were published in “Die Jugend”.

While residing in Innsbruck, Max Bernuth met and married, in November of 1901, Emile Beate Elise Pötter, the daughter of carpenter Christoph Pötter and Albertine Hulda Zwade. Beginning in 1902, Bernuth was a professor of the figurative class at the Elberfeld School of Applied Arts, an arts and crafts school located in the German city of Wuppertal. Among the students he taught were secessionist painter Otto Friedrich Weber, architect and sculptor Amo Breker, and impressionist painter Carl Moritz Schreiner. 

By the 1930s after exhibiting his works in numerous exhibitions, Bernuth achieved a prominent place in Wuppertal’s art culture. He received many commissions as a portrait artist, and became known for his genre and animal images; eventually he became one of the best-known book illustrators in Germany. In October of 1932, Bernuth moved to Bad Reichenhall, a city in Upper Bavaria known for its natural beauty. He relocated in 1939 to the Max Bernuth, "Pantherspiele (Panther Games)", 1899, Illustration for Jugend, Band 2, University of Heidelbergkochhäusl in Bayerisch Gmain, a municipality in Bavaria, where he lived and worked until his passing on April 1st of 1960. 

A member of the German Association of Artists, Max Bernuth was influenced by the works of his teacher Max Klinger, the Symbolist lithographer Otto Greiner, and Realist artist Adolph Menzel, who is considered one of the most prominent German painters of the 19th century . A proponent of the metaphysical and ethical system of Arthur Schopenhauer, Bernuth was interested in classical literature, the poetic epics of Homer, and the novels of Miguel de Cervantes and Hans Jakob von Grimmelshausen.

Top Insert Image: Max Bernuth, “Dream”, 1913, Calendar Illustration, Lithograph

Middle Insert Image: Max Bernuth, “Schmiede in Niederbayern (Forge in Lower Bavaria)”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas

Bottom Insert Image: Max Bernuth, “Pantherspiele (Panther Games)”, 1899, Illustration for Jugend, Band 2, University of Heidelberg

Paul Klee

Paul Klee, “Tale à la Hoffmann”, 1921, Watercolor, Graphite, and Transferred Printing Ink on Paper Bordered with Metallic Foil Mounted on Cardboard, 40.3 x 32.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, on December 18th of 1879. The son of German music teacher Hans Wilhelm Klee and Swiss singer Ida Marie Frick Klee, he was a talented violinist, who at the age of eleven received an invitation to play with the Bern Music Association. Klee’s attention turned from music to the visual arts; and he enrolled in 1898 at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under portrait painter Heinrich Knirr and painter and print maker Franz von Stuck. 

By 1905, Klee had developed his signature techniques and had completed a series of eleven zinc-plate etchings entitled “Inventions”, which would be his first exhibited works. He also worked  on a series of fifty-seven experimental works, drawings scratched on blackened glass with a needle, which included his 1906 “Portrait of My Father”. Klee’s artwork progress steadily over the nest five years, and led to his first solo exhibitions in 1910 at three Swiss cities. 

During the winter of 1911, Paul Klee, through association with art critic Alfred Kubin, met and collaborated with other artists, including expressionist painter Franz Marc and abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky. After returning to Munich in 1914 from a trip to Tunisia, Klee was inspired by Tunisia’s lightly-lit landscapes and painted his first pure abstract, “In the Style of Kairouan”, a composition of colored circles and rectangles.

By 1917, critics began to cite Klee as one of the best young German artists, which led to his representation for several years by German art dealer Hans Goltz, who was a pioneer for the modernist art movement. Klee taught with great effect at the Brauhaus schools from 1921 to 1931, as did his friend Wassily Kandinsky. Along with expressionist artists Lyonel Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky and with the support of art dealer Galka Scheyer, they formed “Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four)” in 1923, which exhibited and lectured in the United States from 1924. A extensive collection of their work is housed in the Städtische Galerie in Munich’s  museum Lenbachhaus.

Paul Klee began teaching at the Dusseldorf Academy in 1931, After the emergence of the Nazi Party to power, he was denounced as a cultural Bolshevist by the emerging Nazi Party; his home was searched by the Gestapo; and he was relieved of his professorship at the Düsseldorf Academy. Klee and his family emigrated to Switzerland in late 1933, where he continued his most prolific year of work, producing nearly five hundred works in 1933. Back in Germany in 1937, seventeen of Klee’s work were included in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in July at the Institute of Archaeology in the Hofgarten; over one hundred of Klee’s  works in public collections were seized by the Nazi Party. 

Beginning in late 1933, Klee began developing symptoms of scleroderma, an autoimmune disease which results in the hardening of connective tissue. Enduring the pain, he was able to continue his work; his simpler and larger designs, with heavier lines and geometric forms, enabled him to keep up his large output over his final years. Paul Klee died in Muralto, Locarno, Switzerland, on the 29th of june 1940. He is buried at Schosshalden  Cemetery, Bern, Switzerland. His legacy composes approximately nine thousand works of art.

Note: Paul Klee loved the tales of the German poet, writer and painter Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, who was nicknamed “Ghost Hoffmann” in his own country. Klee’s mixed-media “Tale à la Hoffmann” appears to be loosely based on the poet’s best-known 1814 lyrical tale, “The Golden Pot”, a magical story that switches back and forth between high fantasy and everyday life in Dresden. 

“The Golden Pot” recounts the trials of the pure and foolish young Anselmus and his efforts to gain entry to Atlantis, the heaven of poetry. The tree from which he first heard fateful voices speaking to him might thus be on the left; the odd, tubelike construction on the right possibly represents the glass bottle in which Anselmus found himself briefly imprisoned. The tale’s repeated references to time are reflected in the two clocks, and the vessel in the center may stand for the golden pot with the fantastic lily that gives the story its name.

Bottom Insert Image: Paul Klee, “Self-Portrait Full Face, Resting Head in Hand”, 1909, Watercolor on Paper on Cardboard, 16.7 x 13.7 cm, Private Collection

Ernesto Garcia Cabral

The Illustrative Work of Ernesto Garcia Cabral

Ernesto Garcia Cabral, know as El Chango, was the most prolific illustrator, caricaturist, and cartoonist in the history of Mexican journalism. Despite a successful sixty-year career and the production of over twenty-five thousand illustrations, he was never widely known outside of Mexico, with the exception of France, where his work appeared in several publications. 

Ernesto Cabral was born in Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico in December of 1890 to Vincent and Aurelia Garcia Cabral. As a boy, he displayed artistic ability with drawings of his classmates and landscapes; his first known illustrative work appeared in a Veracruz newspaper in 1900. Cabral received a scholarship in 1907 to study at the San Carlos Art Academy in Mexico City, where he studied under painter Germán Gedovius, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Munich and a master of the chiaroscuro technique. 

Cabral’s professional career, as an illustrator and caricaturist, began in 1909 with his employment at “The Tarantula,” a weekly paper of humor and politics published in Mexico City. While at the paper, he illustrated political activist Aquiles Serdán’s telegraphed eyewitness reports of the Mexican Revolution; these ten illustrations by Cabral are the first known images of the Revolution. In 1911, Cabral was invited by editor Mario Vitoria to co-found “Multicolor”, one of Mexico’s first political satire magazines which took an anti-revolutionary stance and was fueled by criticism of President Francisco Madero”s administration.

With somewhat suspicious timing, Ernesto Cabral was offered a government-sponsored scholarship to leave Mexico and study art in Paris in February of 1912, just when “Multicolor” fell into trouble with President Madero and the Mexican government’s administration. While studying there, Cafral worked as an illustrator for the several French publications: the humor magazines “Le Rire” and “La Baïonnette”, and the mildly risqué erotic magazine “La Vie Parisienne”. He also became associated with important artists such as Diego Rivera, sculptor and painter Fidas Flizondo, and painter Angel Zarraga. 

At the beginning of World War I, Cabral was given another government stipend which took him to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he remained until 1917 or 1918. While living there, he illustrated for Argentina’s newspapers “La Nación” and “Caras y Caretas”, among others, and for the Chilean publications “Revista Popular” and “Los Diez de Chile”. 

On his return to Mexico in 1918, Cabral began to illustrate primarily in color and produced many illustrations, including art deco images, and caricatures for publications, such as “Revista de Revistas”, “El Semanario Nacional” and “Compañia Editorial Excélsior”. Established as a prominent caricaturist, Ernesto Cabral produced a prolific amount of editorial work throughout the 1920s and 1930s, during which time he also served as president of the National Union of Cartoonists. 

Ernesto Cabral is mostly remembered today for the posters and lobby cards he executed during The Mexican Golden Age of Cinema, which roughly spanned the years from 1936 to 1956. His style was solidified in the mid-1950s, beginning with his design for the 1956 Mexican comedy film  “El Rey de Mexico”. Cabral’s specialty was illustrations for comedy films. Although he did advertising work for several different studios, his most frequent assignments were for films produced by Mier y Brooks, a prominent studio during Mexico’s Golden Age. Cabral’s dynamic compositions, with their bold colors and cartoonish caricatures, were innovative in the field of film advertising and helped establish the careers of Mexican actors and comedians like Germán Valdés, aka Tin Tan, and Mario Moreno, also known as Cantiflas. 

Cabral continued, during the 1960s, producing work for publications like “Hoy”, “Jueves de Excélsior:, and the newspaper “Novedades”, in which he provided illustrations on the Cold War, the Vietnam conflict, and social upheaval in the world. The winner of the 1961 Mergenthaler Prize by the Inter-American Press Association, Ernesto Garcia Cabral passed away on August 8, 1968 in Mexico City at the age of seventy-seven.

A collection of Ernesto Cabral’s movie posters with descriptions can be located at: http://www.santostreet.com/subpages/ArtistCabral.htm

Felicia Chiao

Illustrations by Felicia Chiao

Born in Houston, Texas, Felicia Chiao is an industrial designer and illustrator who is currently residing in San Francisco. She attended Providence’s Rhode Island School of Design where she graduated in 2016 with a degree in Industrial Design. Chiao has experience in toy design, machining and shop work, sketching, and digital and physical prototyping. She balances her work at the global design and consulting firm IDEO with her greatest passion, drawing in her free time.

Traveling frequently due to work, Chiao carries an artist’s notebook with her, in which she daily draws illustrations. Her imaginative illustrations are traditionally done with Copic markers and gel-ink pens on brown paper. Much of Chiao’s work, often infused with a surrealistic atmosphere, are populated by a common humanoid protagonist, as well as black spirit-figures reminiscent of the creatures in Japan’s manga artist and animator Hayao Miyazaki. 

Felicia Chiao’s layered illustrations often depict her protagonists in mundane, everyday narratives and exhibiting states of anxiety and other complex emotions. Although the scenes appear whimsical, there is often, particularly in her most recent work, a sense of loneliness, foreboding, or confinement, a common feeling during this time of isolation.   

Chiao exhibited her work at the GR2: 8 x 8- Group Exhibition held by Giant Robot in July of 2020. Most recently she has a solo show at the GR2 Gallery through March 20th of 2021. The online show is at: https://www.giantrobot.com/collections/gr2-daydreams-felicia-chiao

For more information and images of her work, Felicia Chiao’s website is located at https://society6.com/feliciachiao/prints

Illustrative Posters of Switzerland

Otto Baumberger, “PKZ (Coat)”, 1923, Lithograph, 90 x 128 cm, Private Collection

Situated in the middle of Europe with a culture having three national languages, Switzerland’s graphic arts, particularly in the illustrative poster field, was highly influenced by its neighbors. Two of its most celebrated Art Nouveau poster illustrators started their careers in the 1890s during the Belle Époque in France: Eugène Samuel Grasset, teacher at the École d’Art Graphique and designer of the Grasset typeface, and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen who became known for his bohemian cabaret posters and advertisements, with their black cat image, for the notorious Le Chat Noir Club.

The new century brought forward a first generation of sophisticated Swiss-born and based poster artists who, without exception, had studied abroad in Paris, Munich, and other European cities. Important figures of this generation whose later works would form a major portion of Swiss illustrative posters include: Emil Cardinaux, a painter, who devoted to the poster medium, produced luxury hotel and travel images with the qualities of Japanese woodcuts; Robert Mangold whose work was inspired by Greek mythology and classical allegorical figures; Otto Baumberger whose realistically rendered work formed a synthesis between typeface and image: and Niklaus Stoecklin who brought a clean, precisely detailed, and realistic style to commercial advertising. All of these artist later became leading members of the Early Modernist movement in Switzerland.

The Swiss Werkbund, an association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists, was established in 1913 and provided a major momentum to the development of the Swiss graphic and printing industry, including its design quality and product marketing. In the 1920s, the association promoted functional industrial design and, coordinated with the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts, made contributions to the development of modern Swiss graphic design.

Ernst Keller, one of the co-founders of the Swiss Werkbund, was a professor at the Zurich University of the Arts from 1918 to 1956. He initiated a graphic design and typography course which used simple geometric forms, vibrant colors, and evocative imagery to explain the meaning behind each typographic design. Many of his students gained international acclaim in the design field, including typeface designer Hans Eduard Meier, who designed the Syntax typeface, and the graphic designers Hermann Eidenbenz, who designed the Graphique and Clarendon typefaces, Lora Lamm, a major innovator of graphic fashion advertising. and Richard Paul Lohse, a pioneer in book design and one of the leading members of the Constructive Art movement.

Both Zurich and the city of Basel were the home bases for design schools, printers, and publishers in the 1930s. Switzerland became an important focus for graphic designers from many countries, due to imposed artistic restrictions and political pressures of the rising National Socialist Party. In the 1930s, a major breakthrough in posters occurred with the work of Swiss photographer Herbert Matter, who had studied and worked with French painters Fernand Léger and Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in Paris. He pioneered the use of photomontage combined with typeface in commercial art. Photomontage was an effect where multiple photo images would be edited into a seamless image for poster use. In 1932 Matter’s  series of posters for Swiss resorts and the Swiss National Tourist Office achieved international acclaim.

The “PKZ (Coat)” , one of the most famous Swiss illustrative object posters, is a testament to the graphic skill of Otto Baumberger as well as to the lithographic and publishing skills of J. E. Wolfsenberger, Zurich’s renowned art graphics company. This advertising poster for the clothing line, Paul Kehl of Zurich, was the first object poster by Otto Baumberger in which he omitted all unnecessary text from its design. The advertiser is identified solely through the label on the coat. This poster was also an advertising first in the dramatic use of hyper-realism, as seen in the highly detailed rendering of the coat’s wool fibers.

Insert Top Image: Artist Unknown, “Lotschberg Tunnel, Loetschberg Railway”, 1912, Lithograph, Hubacher and Company Publisher, Bern, Private Collection

Insert Bottom Image:  Burkhard Mangold, “Fabbrica di Automobili”, 1907, Lithograph, 84 x114 cm,  J. E. Wolfsenberger Publishers, Zurich, Private Collection

Willem Arondeus

The Artwork of Willem Arondeus

Born in Amsterdam in 1895, Willem Arondeus was a Dutch illustrator, painter and author. At the age of thirteen, he attended the former Quellinus School, now the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he devoted himself to decorative painting. After a family dispute about his homosexuality, he left home at the age of seventeen and severed contact with his family. Contrary to the general custom of the time, Arondeus, even at a young age, openly talked about his homosexuality in his social circles.

After meeting artists in the neighboring villages of Laren and Blaricum, Arondeus decided to pursue a career as an artist. Traveling to Rotterdam, he studied painting at the city’s school for sculptors, the Quellinus School. He started his writing: work in 1920: and he received, in 1923, a commission for a large mural to be installed in the Rotterdam City Hall. Arondeus moved into the countryside of the central Netherlands to the city of Apeldoom where, in 1933, he met and settled with Jan Tijssen, a young gardener who would remain his partner for the next seven years.

Despite their financial struggles between the years 1923 and 1939, Willem Arondeus produced a significant amount of artwork in this period. He worked as an illustrator for the publications of Dutch poets J. H. Leopold, Pieter Cornelis Boutens and Martinus Nijhoff. He also received commissions for calendars and charity stamps, and painted landscapes in the areas of Amsterdam, Blaricum in northern Holland, and on the Isle of Urk. From 1930 to 1932, Arondeus made nine tapestries with ornaments around the arms of Noord-Holland towns for the County Seat.

Around 1935, Willem Arondeus ceased his visual arts work and devoted himself to his writing. He published two novels in 1938; “Het Uilenhuis (The Owls House)” and “In de Bloeiende Ramenas (In the Blossoming Winter Radish)”, both completed with his illustrations in the fin de siecle style. which embraced symbolism and the decadence movement. In 1939 Arondeus published “Matthijs Maris: De Tragiek van den Droom (The Tragedy of the Dream)”, a biography of the Dutch mystical painter Matthijs Maris, which eased his financial situation.

In May of 1940, the German army invaded and occupied the Netherlands, and required all, above the age of fifteen, to carry identity cards with all personal information, including religion. By 1941, realizing the danger of his work against the German occupation, Arondeus sent Tijssen back to their home in Apeldoorn. Soon after the invasion, he joined the Raad van Verzet, Council of Resistance, and in the spring of 1942, started an underground periodical “Brandarisbrief (The Brandaris Letter)”, named after the oldest Dutch lighthouse. With other graphical artists like Frans Duwaer, Willem Sandberg and Gerrit van der Veen, Arondeus started to hide Jewish citizens and to falsify identity cards, which eventually totaled over eighty thousand.

Aware of the prevalence of false identity cards, the Nazi occupation began to compare the cards with the information found in the Municipal Archives. A plan to attack the Archives and destroy all the records was made by Willem Arondeus, Gerrit van der Veen and others. This attack took place on the evening of March 27 in 1943. A fire was set; with the collusion of the local fire brigade to forestall its extinguishing, thousands of cards were destroyed, which hindered the registration process.

Willem Arondeus was arrested on April 1st of 1943 and sentenced to death in June at a Nazi court held at Amsterdam’s Tropical Museum. He took full responsibility for the attack, with the hope others would be spared. Willem Arondeus, along with a group of twelve, was executed on July 1st of 1943 in the North Sea dunes of Overveen. In his last message before his execution, Arondeus, who had lived openly as a gay man before the war, asked his friend, Laura Carola Mazirel, the future jurist and human rights activist, to testify after the war that “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”

In 1984 the Dutch government posthumously awarded Resistance Memorial Cross to Willem Arondeus and the others. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, honored Arondeus in 1986 as a Righteous Among The Nations for destroying Municipal Records of Amsterdam, the result of which prevented the German occupiers from locating many of the Dutch-Jewish population. In 2001 twenty of Arondeus’s homo-erotic poems, written during his life in Urk and inspired by the work of gay Dutch poet Pieter Cornelis Boutens, were published as “Aloof Strophes (Aloof Stanzas)”.