On October 20, 1951, this issue of Collier's hit the stands sporting a remarkable cover by Frederick Siebel. Fifty-seven years later, on October 20, 2008, we begin a week-long look at the work of this versatile illustrator.
Not much information is available on Siebel. The paragraph below from the contents page of that same issue very nearly sums up everything I've been able to find.
Frustrating, because Siebel was tremendously prolific. Flip though almost any major mid-century magazine and you're likely to come across his signature on ad or editorial art -- or both! Thank goodness Siebel regularily signed his work, because you just never know which style (always appropriate, of course) he'd choose to employ for any given assignment.
Siebel was equally adept at literal realism, exaggerated (cartoony) realism, caricature...
... even storybook styles! How many illustrators can boast that sort of diversity?
Its actually kind of surprising that Frederick Siebel was so successful. The business does not generally reward those among its ranks who do a lot of different things, even if they do them well. Most art directors tend to want to pigeon-hole artists as much as most artists want to specialize in one personal 'look'. Think of all the illustrators whose work you know well, who landed high profile assignments on a regular basis, and try to name five who did work as diverse as what you see in today's post. Try to name three!
I've been setting aside examples of Siebel's work for a very long time, hoping to discover an article about him, or hear from someone who knew him. No such luck. Perhaps someone who knew him will find these posts and tell us more about this artist I find both appealing and intriguing -- the versatile Frederick Siebel.
* My Frederick Siebel Flickr set.