Before seeing these illustrations in the July 1954 issue of Cosmopolitan, Robert G. Schneeberg's work was unknown to me. And after unsuccessfully searching the internet for more images or information about the artist I'm afraid I must report that Schneeberg will remain unknown for now.
Cosmo AD, Robert C. Atherton, made a brilliant choice in assigning this story to Schneeberg. He could have called upon any one of his regular stable of illustrators, any of whom would have delivered a thoroughly professional interpretation of this story of "Mme Pineau's Three Screams".
But Atherton decided to go far off the beaten path - even for this daring AD.
Schneeberg's work, filled with quaint stylized buildings, people and animals, cars and houses that look like they were drawn for a children's story book, and homey decorative elements, is entirely unlike anything I've seen used to illustrate articles in Cosmo during this period. By choosing Schneeberg to illustrate a murder story, Robert Atherton lulls the viewer into a sense of cosy security.
He has us completely fooled...
Until we turn to the third spread...
And look closely at this unnerving detail.
That such a violent act is being portrayed in such a naive, child-like style makes the visual so much more disturbing than if any of Cosmo's more "literal" contributors had illustrated it.
Whatever became of Rober G. Schneeberg after this one assignment? The internet offers only this one clue: The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a Schneeberg in its collection. No image was available.
* Take a closer look at these images in my Robert G. Schneeberg Flickr set.