Lucia (pronounced "Loo-Shah") Lerner was "a shapely brunette, attractive, around 5'5'. I never saw her in anything but a conservative dark dress," writes Will Nelson, who knew her from his time at Chicago art studio, Stephens, Biondi, DeCicco during the 1950's. "I don't remember her wearing anything else to work in. Her medium and style was a combination of india ink line and gouache washes. Much like others of the time who were using line and washes in inks,"
The November 1952 issue of Art Director & Studio News (the "Special Chicago Issue") contains a couple of interesting pages relevent to Lucia and SBD: first is this ad announcing the formation of the studio.
"I do remember that starting SBD required getting some top talent to come in...one of those was Lucia," writes Will.
Second is this page highlighting a tradition of fashion illustration in the Chicago commercial art scene. Will writes, "Lucia was a unique individual. We often played chess on lunch breaks...I seldom won a match...and she would talk about her art and how she grew into illustration from a newspaper, fashion artist, background. I think her style evolved from the desire to be different from the several other figure artists in the studio."
"You have to remember that Chicago was the "product" center of the U.S. We were heavy into foods, electronics, fashion related areas like cosmetics, etc. So...Lucia was always in demand in the ad agencies. The sales people were always trying to get her for their respective accounts."
"We were always competing with Cooper for editorial assignments. Barry Stephens constantly sought new samples from all of us to show in New York."
"I think [Lucia] enjoyed the work out of New York more for the change from agency assignments than for the work itself. She was very confident in her career and had her own idea about what her work was worth."
"She seemed rather indifferent to other illustrators and rarely commented on changing styles or other artists."
* Many of this week's images came to me from my friend David Apatoff - who passed them along from his dad's old clipping files. By coincidence David's dad, who was an art director and freelance illustrator in Chicago in the 50's, worked occassionally for Stephens, Biondi, DeCicco as well. I am most grateful for David's generosity in passing along these fantastic tearsheets so we could all enjoy seeing them this week. All of these images are now in my Lucia Flickr set.