Monday, March 19, 2007

Thornton Utz (1914-2000)

Looking over many hundreds of illustrations by dozens of illustrators who regularly received assignments from the major magazines of the 50's, one begins to appreciate that certain artists were called upon to prepare visuals for stories with themes or genres the editors felt they were best suited to.

So one could predict that a romance story might be illustrated by, say, Coby Whitmore while a James R. Bingham illustration was more likely to be attached to a crime story.

But then there are those illustrators I like to call "the generalists".

These were the artists that magazine editors assigned to illustrate any number of situations or topics. Of these, the best could stretch their styles and techniques to reflect some aspect of the specific scenario they were illustrating, thus enhancing the viewer's experience on a visceral level.

Among these top-tier generalists, I consider Thornton Utz to be the best of the best.

This week let's take a look at the variety of approaches this talented artist brought to his work.


  1. Just looking at some of the drawings by Thornton Utz makes me smile. Wonderful!

  2. Well I'm very glad to hear that, William - thanks for your comment! :-)

  3. Leif, In your research, did you come across a Post story of "The High Cost of Loving"? I have an orignal painting that Thornton did for the article and have been trying for years to find out which Post it appeared. I can send you a picture of the art work if you want. Thanks for your help.

  4. Lee; I'm sorry, I don't recognize it by the title... I must admit I rarely notice the titles of the articles or stories when I'm looking at illustrations in old magazines.

    If you can send me a digital photo of your painting, I might recognize it.

    Email a jpeg to me at this address (substitute the actual symbols for the words in brackets):