Thursday, June 16, 2022

Frank Schoonover and the Golden Age of Illustrations

 For centuries, the most important ways that art reached millions was through illustrations for magazines and books. I was just a little kid when I saw a library book with the most beautiful illustrations I'd ever seen. Although I've long forgotten the title and author of the book, I do recall the awe I experienced at the art.


 

In fact, some of the beloved artist, who touched others, were illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Beatrix Potter, N.C. Wyeth and Maurice Sendak. One that you might not be as familiar with is Frank Schoonover (1877-1972) although he was a very prolific illustrator. 

 

 

 

Beyond Schoonover's many illustrations for magazines and books, he created over 5,000 paintings! His time marks the early 20th century regarded as the "Golden Age of Illustrations."

His illustrations included swashbuckling figures for adventure books, cowboys and mavericks for western books and even the sad situation of soldiers during WW1. 


 

In addition to Schoonover's own works, he collected and saved the works of other illustrators plus he taught art in his own studio. 


 

In case you think he's a forgotten illustrator in the scheme of popularity, there is the Schoonover Studio in Wilmington, DE. It was started as a studio and school by Howard Pyle, but soon outgrew the building.

 

 

It was the efforts of Schoonover and others to find a philanthropist to finance an expanded school. Among the illustrious attendees of the new school included N. C. Wyeth. 


 

You don't have to go to Delaware to see the famous school for illustrators. In keeping with modern times, there's a YouTube of Schoonover's grandson being interviewed about the studio. Just type in "Frank Schoonover." 






Thursday, June 9, 2022

Raymond Wintz: The Light of Brittany

 Raymond Wintz (1884-1956) was one of those "in-between" painters. His style was described as being between what was known as "realism" in those times with a touch of "impressionism." It could've been because that although he was Parisian-born and trained in art, he chose to live in another part of France.


 

 

 

Wintz decided to settle in Brittany. Perhaps it was for the quality of the light. After all, he was known as the "painter of light." Whatever else, the combination of the light and the closeness to the sea from his windows proved very inspiring.

 

 

 

His most famous painting from his time in Brittany is titled, "The Blue Door."


 

It's still available in prints and there's no wonder. Who wouldn't love to go on vacation to the seashore and open the door of a rented villa to such a scene? Imagine stepping out in the morning with your coffee and croissant to such a view!

 

 

 

 

With all of his paintings of Brittany, not only do you feel the wind and the sea, but the lives of the Bretons and their distinct Celtic culture having more in common with the Welsh, Irish and Scottish, who have all retained their language into modern times.

Here's more of the people and the land that inspired Wintz to produce some of this most well-known works:







Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Mark Tobey/ Jackson Pollock Debate...


 

In an art publication, I read that Jackson Pollock, the famous abstract expressionist painter known for his "drip style," took great pains to deny that his work was influenced by the work of Mark Tobey. Evidence suggests otherwise. (Unlike Pollock's non-denial of Janet Sobel, who was the subject of this blog in March, 2022, which you can find in the archives.)

Before describing the evidence, let me introduce you to Mark Tobey (1890-1976). Does the name sounds familiar? If so, he was known as one of the  "4 Mystical Painters of the Northwest" and a founder of the Northwest School (of art style).  (The other 3 were: Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson)

As a young man, Tobey had converted to the Ba'hai faith. The study of his faith, as well as his travels through Europe and the Orient, led to his interest in Asian arts. He studied haiku (Japanese essential poetry), Japanese brushwork, and Chinese, Arab and Persian calligraphy. 


 

 

 

He also stayed for awhile in a Zen monastery. In time, all of these experiences would influence his art and not only lead to abstract art work, but also to what Tobey referred to as "white writing." 

  Toby experimented with combining painting and calligraphy for spiritual meaning. He would overlay the painting with white (or another light color) in an interwoven brush stroke style. His method would give rise to what is known as an "an "all-over" painting style.(His "Broadway" painting on left.)

 

Now, dear reader, back to Pollock... ...evidence shows that Pollock attended every exhibition of Tobey's paintings. Often, Pollock would attend an exhibit and then return to his studio and create a very large all-over canvas mural. Below on the right is a Tobey painting and on the left is a Pollock. What do you think? Do you think Pollock really was influenced by Tobey?