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The Illustrator in America: 1860-2000 Paperback – July 8, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Design (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060554886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060554880
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,666,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo VINE VOICE on May 20, 2004
If you are an artist, illustrator, or simply love fine figurative art, this book is a must-buy. Most of the greatest illustrators are represented here. As a painter, illustrator, I especially revere the works of the Brandywine artists and those from the 1920's thru the 1960's. The colors are terrific and the vast array of illustrators is wonderfull. I have always felt that commercial illustrators were better trained and more disiciplined therefore more competent and confident in experimenting with style and media than those trained in the fine arts. However, as great as the images were in The Illustrator in America, for those who seek a bit more,especially those who paint, several things are lacking: Editorial content-the tag line that always accompanies book or magazine illustration which explains the event captured in paint, would be so helpful to have, and as a painter to me knowing the size and media of eaach piece is invaluable and instructive. I own the last two issues but I hope the authors do a bit more research and give us the above information, as well as a bibliography because in case we want to buy old magazines for the larger full-size reproductions, having the year and month or issue number would be extremely helpful.
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In music, I've always preferred chamber music, a woodwind quintet, over a full-blown symphony orchestra. Similarly, ever since high school I've been fascinated by book and magazine illustration over Rembrandt and Picasso. I've built up quite a collection of illustrated books and magazines, plus covers and jackets, ranging from Leyendecker and Rockwell to Frazetta and the Hildebrandts. This volume is less a history of American illustration than an encyclopedic catalog of some 650 of its practitioners, from the HARPER'S WEEKLY "special artists" of the Civil War period to modern artists of science fiction paperback covers. There's a brief bio sketch for each with an example or two of their work, organized by decade -- though placement within a decade is somewhat arbitrary for those with lengthy careers. All my old favorites are here, like John Held (I used to work with his grandson), Gordon Hope Grant, Hannes Bok, N. C. Wyeth, Winsor McCay, Donald Teague, Floyd Davis, and many, many others. I also discovered many artists whose work I had seen but whom I knew nothing about. Besides being a first-rate reference book, this is a great time-sink, and it will have a permanent place on my art shelf -- if I can every bring myself to put it down.
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Note: I made some immature reader angry over my negative reviews of books out to prove the Book of Mormon, and that person has been slamming my reviews almost as fast as I post them.

A short review is not necessarily a bad review if it leads you to a good book.

Your "helpful" votes are appreciated. Thanks

I'm not an art critic, but I love this book. There are several illustrations that I return to again and again. Here are a few of them:

"Leaving Southfield," by Ben Prins. It shows a cop giving a man a ticket next to a sign that reads, "Southfield, the Friendly City."

The cover illustration for "The American Weekly," 1951, by E. Everett Henry. It shows some children playing by the road on a beautiful fall day. Highly evocative of idealized Americana.

The Coca-Cola advertising illustration, 1922, by Irving Nurick. It shows a young woman sitting in a hammock at night. Intriguing.

"The Art Director," by Robert Fawcett, 1951. This funny illustration shows a cynical-faced boss looking at a painting done by a company employee. He's not impressed.

There are too many great illustrations to list, but I'll note one final illustration as one of my favorites. It's James Bingham's illustration of the Perry Mason story for the Saturday Evening Post, 1958. It shows a man in a trench coat at the top of a curved set of stairs. He's saying good night to a woman. The purples, blues, and yellows are super.

If you like black-and-white illustrations, check out "A Celebration of Humanism and Freethought," by David Allen Williams. It's full of rare 19th century engravings opposite selections of poetry and prose.
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This is a superb piece of scholarship with integrity, class and taste. It is encyclopedic in scope. There is no other book in the field of illustration that comes close to this one, and I have read them all.
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