Friday, May 11, 2007
The Old School: Actually "The Chicago School"?
A friend emailed me the other day, saying he always thinks of what I call "the old school style" as "the Chicago style" - and that might be an appropriate term. Of the artists we looked at this week, Harry Anderson, Haddon Sundblom and Andrew Loomis all worked out of Chicago.
Even the Formfit ads from yesterday list Chicago as a primary address, adding to the plausibility that the art for those ads was done by Chicago-based illustrators. I mentioned the famous pinup artist, Gil Elvgren in the context of those ads and he too was a Chicago based artist (who had learned how to paint while apprenticing with Sundblom).
Add to that list Joyce Ballentine, who worked out of the Chicago art studio, Stevens Gross and of whom Frederick W. Bouton, VP of Creative Services, JWT, Chicago, writing in the November 1952 issue of Art Director and Studio News had this to say:
Ballentine famously created the "Coppertone Girl"...
But I would consider well known east coast artists like Walter Baumhofer...
...and Tom Lovell (both of whom had roots in the pulps)...
...and Fred/Chaite Studio's Mary Mayo to fall well within the broader range of the "old school" style. In fact, there were a great many artists enjoying tremendous success by painting in the style of the old school.
Haddon Sundblom claimed among his influences, John Singer Sargent, and Frederick Bouton described the look I'm trying to classify in his AD&SN article as "the solid chords of academic realism". For the sake of expediency, that description might be enough. Whatever the case, in spite of the long-enduring popularity and high profile of the old school, there was a change taking place as the 50's progressed.
Next week: The New School