Friday, February 16, 2007

Fritz Willis (1907-1979)

These are the only two pieces by Fritz Willis I've come across in my collection of Collier's magazines... but I wouldn't mind finding more! Without really knowing anything about the artist I was pleased to discover he's well represented on the Internet. For those who want to learn a little about Willis, this bio at The Pin-Up Files is fairly comprehensive. What isn't mentioned there but which I find very interesting is this tidbit I found in Walt Reed's Illustrator in America: as a neophyte commercial artist, Willis worked in Hollywood with Joe De Mers - often on the same drawings - at Warner Bros. Studios. The two men continued to partner on pin-up assignments for Esquire magazine before going their separate ways.

Actually, if you can tear your eyes away from his lovely ladies for a moment, its worth noting how much personality Willis invests in his male characters. I'm reminded a little of some of Albert Dorne's work when I look at Willis' slightly cartoony approach to the men in this second piece. And the two bathing beauties are hardly wooden-faced mannequins. Willis was clearly skilled at projecting attitude with body language and subtlety of expression.

These images can be seen at full size in my new Fritz Willis Flickr set.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:54 AM

    very inspiring blog indeed >8-)