Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The "biting witty 'Fritz' Siebel"

Long-time reader's will remember Anita Virgil's moving recollections of her late husband Andy's life. During that series of posts, Anita mentioned that one of the other artists who also worked at Rahl Studios (where Andy began his professional career) was Frederick Siebel. Anita called Siebel "Fritz" and fondly described him as "biting witty" and one of the artists whose company Andy enjoyed.

The only ad I've ever come across for Rahl Studios is this one, from the 1942 Art Directors Annual. Siebel isn't listed among the studio's staff of artists, suggesting he was either not yet in the business, working elsewhere, or in the service, like so many other illustrators.

Below, a 1945 ad from the Saturday Evening Post, illustrated by Fred Siebel. Clearly already very accomplished and doing work for national accounts, Siebel must have been at least somewhat established as a professional illustrator.

Later, he would become a regular contributor to Collier's as a story artist, contibuting covers and interior art in a variety of styles. Here once again, we see Siebel trying something different that reminds me a little of Denver Gillen's work. Funny though, his success there never translated into any editorial assignments for the Post.

Perhaps Siebel's refusal to stick to one style made him too much of a wild card for the Post's editors. Generally speaking, Collier's tended to embrace a broader range of stylized artwork.

Finally for today, a Siebel painting for the long-running American beermakers "Beer Belongs" series. Some of the best illustrators in the country regularly received these assignments: Haddon Sundblom, John Gannam, Douglass Crockwell and others, a prestigious group for Frederick Siebel to have been associated with.

* My Fred Siebel Flickr set.

* Also, be sure to visit Charlie Allen's Blog today for a 'spaced out' installment of the CAWS!


  1. Highlight after highlight - every week! Now's Fritz' turn.

    The happy neighbourhood over the fence with those beers...

    Those vintage planes in the sky! How clever he contrasted and emphasized the posts: warm colour against the cool blue of the sky, cool colour against the landscape's warm tones.


  2. Fritz Siebel was my grandfather and was an accomplished illustrator. I am not familiar with his Rahl works but i know he illustrated the Emilia Bedelia books and a few other children's books in that same company. He also illustrated a few armed forces posters during WWII. Which is a significant accomplishment considering he escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1938 and came to the US with his sister speaking little or no english.

    1. Would you happen to know how he made most of his children's illustrations? What media did he use, and how did he work? A friend loves his work and has asked me to create illustrations for her book, based on "A Fly Goes By"

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