Archive for October, 2013

F.R. GRUGER

October 29, 2013

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F.R. Gruger was born in 1871 in Pennsylvania. He spent most of his childhood in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania where his father had a partnership in a marble yard. By all accounts he had an idyllic childhood surrounded by uncles, aunts and cousins.

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The story goes:  as a young man he admired the internationally acclaimed painter and illustrator Edwin Austin Abbey and spent most of his time copying Abbey’s work from books and periodicals. When an art gallery announced an exhibit for Abbey’s illustrations, Gruger took what he felt were his best efforts and travelled to Philadelphia to compare his with the original. When the proprietor saw the young man with an “Abbey” drawing in his hands he assumed it was being stolen. Once Gruger explained the drawing was his, the man was impressed with how accurately Gruger had copied Abbey. The proprietor then suggested Gruger to further his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Which Gruger did.

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Gruger got his first job working with the old Century magazine. However, it was with the Philadelphia Ledger where he developed a method of drawing. The drawing was made with Wolf pencil, rubbed with a stump or eraser, often times over an underlying wash, which produced a full range of values, particularly a rich velvety black. The board was an inexpensive cardboard used by newspapers for mounting silver prints. This board has since become known as “Gruger Board”.

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In 1882, the editor of the Saturday Evening Post commissioned Gruger to illustrate a mystery story with 4 drawings and thus began a 45 years association with the Post. Gruger was always in great demand from other periodicals so much so that he had the luxury to make the rules with the editors. He would only accept manuscripts free of editorial suggestions and would not submit “roughs” and he had the right to choose the passage to be depicted. Aside from editors he was also sought after by some of the best writers of the times for him to illustrate their manuscripts, such as Somerset Maugham, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, and Edna Ferber, to name a few.

A famous author once quoted Gruger saying: “You have said in your drawings what I tried to say in 100,00 words”.

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F.R. Gruger died in 1953 at the age of 82

GUSTAF TENGGREN

October 21, 2013

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This one is for Bill Peckman

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Gustaf Tenggren was born on November 3, 1896 in the parish of Magra in Vastergotland, western Sweden. His parents Aron and Augusta had seven children and Gustaf was the second youngest of them. In 1913 he received a scholarship to study painting at Valand, the art school in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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After his first exhibition in 1920, Tenggren
left Sweden and moved to Cleveland,
Ohio
, in the United States,
where his two sister had already settled, and from there, in 1922, to New York City. By 1923,
he was illustrating children’s book during the heyday of
illustrated books by illustrators such as Arthur
Rackham
and Kay Nielsen. In 1923, Tenggren’s work appeared e.g.
in new releases of Tanglewood Tales and A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys,
as well as in The Christ Story for Boys and Girls by Abraham
Rihbany
. From 1923 to 1939, Tenggren worked for the game company Milton Bradley

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in 1936, he was hired by The Walt Disney Company, to work as a chief illustrator with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the popular feature-length movie originated in 1934 when Walt Disney decided to re-create the romantic fairy tale. Snow White was the first American feature-length animated film. Tenggren gave Snow White an “Old World” look that Walt Disney sought. His Rackham-style trees featured prominently in the forest scenes. He later worked with productions such as Bambi and Pinocchio, as well as backgrounds and atmospheres of films such as The Ugly Duckling and The Old Mill. His work throughout Snow White and in many of the richly detailed urban backgrounds of Pinocchio are obviously drawn upon his Scandinavian heritage and experience.

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Although his work for Disney was still in the Rackham fairy-tale illustration style, after he left the studio in 1940, he never painted that way again. From 1942 to 1962, Tenggren worked for Little Golden Books with illustrations for children’s books such as Tawny Scrawny Lion; Little Black Sambo and The Poky Little Puppy, which became the single all-time best-selling hardcover children’s book in English.

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After he moved to the United States in 1920, he never returned to Sweden again. Gustaf Tenggren died in 1970 at Dogfish Head in Southport, Maine.

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Homeward bound.

LAWSON WOOD

October 14, 2013

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Lawson Wood was born on 23 August 1878 in Highgate, London, the son of landscape artist Pinhorn Wood,[1] and the grandson of architectural artist L.J. Wood. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, Heatherley’s School of Fine Art and Frank Calderon’s School of Animal Painting.[2]

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In 1896, he was employed with periodical publisher C. Arthur Pearson Ltd.[1] In 1902, he married Charlotte Forge. From the age of 24 he pursued a successful freelance career and was published in The Graphic, The Strand Magazine, Punch, The Illustrated London News, and Boys Own Paper. He illustrated a number of books including Louis Tracy‘s The Invaders in 1901 for Pearson.[2]

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By 1906, he was recognized for his humorous style, especially for his depictions of stone-age humans and dinosaurs.

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During World War I, Wood served as an officer in the Kite Balloon Wing of the Royal Flying Corps,[1] and was responsible for spotting planes from a hot-air ballon. The duty was dangerous, and Wood was decorated by the French for his action over Vimy Ridge.

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Wood was a recluse during his later years and dwelt in a 15th-century medieval manor house he moved brick by brick from Sussex to the Kent border.[1] He died in Devon on 26 October 1957 at the age of 79.[

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JACK DAVIS

October 7, 2013

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What could I possibly say about Jack Davis that hasn’t been said? What words could I possibly choose to explain why Jack Davis is admired and respected not only by his peers but by devoted fans and admirers from across the globe? The man, simply put, is a genius in his own right. Jack Davis stands on the shoulders of giants and is the epitome of a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.  Need I say more?

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The End