Monday, September 24, 2007

Graphic? Novel!

Something very interesting was going on in the pages of Woman's Home Companion around 1950.

Artists were going graphic.

I recently acquired a stack of WHC magazines dating from 1948 to 1952. They all contain the typical 4 or 5 (usually romance) fiction stories that women's magazines carried in those days. Those stories are illustrated by some of the biggest and best names in the illustration business of the day in the usual painting styles, ranging from the Old School approach of Harry Anderson to the New School look of Jon Whitcomb. But only during the year 1950 did the occassional artist, like Dorothy Monet, suddenly cast off their painterly ways and present us with a novel graphic technique like the example above.

Monet did that piece for the May 1950 issue of Woman's Home Companion. By September, she had returned to her more recognizable painting style, below.

What could have inspired this sudden, very forward-thinking shift in visual presentation? It occured in virtually every issue, usually by a different artist each month throughout 1950... then was gone.

This week we'll look at some of those examples and try to figure out what the heck happened.

* Both of today's images can be seen at full size in my Dorothy Monet Flickr set.

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