I'm fudging some numbers today in the interest of reinforcing a point. I've been focusing this week on the graphic experiments made by a number of illustrators in issues of Woman's Home Companion during 1950. But the piece Walter Skor contributed to the November 1950 issue, while beautifully realized, really looks rather classical.
His illustration for the May '52 issue of WHC, however, is another story all together.
By riffing on Piet Mondrian for a background motif, Skor provides us with a perfect example of a number of major changes taking place in illustration at that time: the "big head and hands" element, the elimination of traditional background environment, the reduction of props to only those essential to the story, an emphasis toward flat, graphic areas of colour.
Perhaps most importantly, Skor plainly shows us that illustrators were not oblivious to the world of fine art - and the radical new experiments in abstraction taking place there. Skor could hardly have picked a more ideal fine artist to incorporate into his illustration to evoke a sense of modernity for the WHC reader. Mondrian's bright, bold, angular art seems to have been co-opted in all aspects of popular culture of the day, from packaging to architectural design.
And to return to yesterday's point... Al Parker beat Walter Skor to the idea of incorporating modern art into his illustration by two years.
These images can be seen at full size in my Walter Skor Flickr set.