Henry C. Pitz, in his article in the December 1959 issue of American Artist writes, [The Storybook Style] "is entitled to be called a renaissance, for it has caused a reawakening that has born abundant fruit. It has eclipsed the so-called "golden age" of the eighties and nineties of the past century, and has no real present-day rival in the rest of the world."
Pitz could not have imagined how right he was. As realistic illustration lost ground to the relentless charge of television and photography, the storybook illustrators of the 50's were steering illustration in a new direction that the public likely found more palatable than the sometimes impenetrable work of the avantegardists lead by Robert Weaver.
A few enlightened art directors and their clients were early adopters of the storybook style...
... giving even the most mundane ad concepts an attractive, eye-catching flare that realism (photographic or illustrative) simply could not hope to compete with.
As early as 1953, members of the Art Director's Club of New York seem to have supported the idea of using more storybook styles. An unscientific survey in the January 1953 issue of Art Director and Studio News shows the following cleverly presented results.
Asked their opinion of which types of visiual devises used in advertising they felt were on the increase, most art directors seem to have felt that fine art and decorative art was on the increase...
... as well as more cartoon art and photography...
... while most seem to have felt that realism was, if anything, just holding its ground. This is quite telling.
Art directors are the ones developing concepts for client presentation. If they can convince advertisers to try something different, something that might make their product stand out from the competion, then they can be credited with having played a significant role in more storybook style artwork being presented to the public.
The pieces you see here and throughout this week are but a tiny sampling of clients who were convinced by their art directors to try something other than realism.
"The way for book illustrators has been paved by a growing audience for picture books, particularly among children," wrote Henry C. Pitz. "Americans love pictures, often without discrimination, but that raw appetite has given the book illustrator his opportunity."
"Our book illustrators are a concientious and devoted company, frequently giving much for very little. Certainly no one considers book illustration a road to riches. As a result, there is much less frantic opportunism and obsequious awareness of every breath of fashion than in the fields of advertising and magazine illustration. In a world of snatch and discard, the book illustrator retains some liason with permanent things."
So permanent, in fact, that they have flourished for half a century while many others have come and gone.
See my Ads with Storybook Styles Flickr set for many more examples.