Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:55 pm is a trove of magazine covers and advertising illustration from the decades around the turn of the 20th Century.

Though a number of names of illustrators from that era have become familiar, many many more are still obscure, rarely featured or highlighted. The illustrations in the archives are heavy on the latter, light on the former.

If you dig, you can find some gems by artists like Maxfield Parrish (above, second down) Coles Phillips (4th down) and others.

The real draw here, though, is the unknown artists, both good and wonderfully cheesy. There is a search feature, but discoveries are best made by browsing.

You can start off in galleries sorted by topic (note the numbered links at bottom to subsequent pages) and drill down into individual titles.

Don’t be hasty to pass up categories that might not be of interest to you as a reader. Some of the best illustrations are in women’s magazines and weekly titles like Collier’s; some of the most fun are in the science magazines and pulps.

Posted in: Illustration   |   7 Comments »

7 comments for »

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  1. Comment by Dave Dubé
    Thursday, May 19, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    Thanks a whole bunch, Charley! There went the rest of my week…

  2. Comment by Susan Scheid
    Thursday, May 19, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they? What a treasure trove you’ve found for us! You really ought to get a public service award (with cash attached, of course)!

  3. Comment by Anonymous
    Friday, May 20, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    Those were the days; Mc.Call’s Magazine 1905 – Fifty Cents a Year.
    5 Cents a Copy.
    As a small kid I adored Norman Rockwell (Saturday Evening Post).

  4. Comment by Anonymous
    Friday, May 20, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    Please, don’t miss the Rockwell files:

  5. Comment by Valentino
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 @ 5:42 am

    Charley, thanx for the link. Now, if someone could launch a site featuring large scans of pre-WWII posters, particularly travel posters…

  6. Comment by magscanner
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    @Valentino: Great idea! Have you thought about doing it…yourself?

    That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I asked a similar question, the one about all those magazine covers that nobody ever saw any more, and realized nobody else was going to do it.

    It doesn’t even need to cost any money; it will take a little bit of your time, though.

    You will definitely be surprised and pleased to find out how many other people will share your interest.


  7. Comment by matt
    Saturday, May 28, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    Beautiful illustrations dug up here, feels like I’m back in 1895 again, ah, the good ‘ol days. Especially liked the name drop of Collier :)

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