Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas, Lucia Lerner...

... wherever you are...

I've had such good luck connecting with friends and family of those who created the work I showcase here on Today's Inspiration (and ocassionally, even the artists themselves) that I'd almost begun taking it for granted.

I had hoped by now that someone related to Lucia Lerner would have found the numerous posts I've written about her and sent word of whatever became of her. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.

Thanks to Will Nelson, an artist who worked with Lucia in the Chicago studio, Stephens, Biondi, DiCicco, we at least have a rough character sketch of Lucia during the 1950's...

Since that week of posts, I had one brief correspondence with a gentleman name Ken Krull. Ken wrote, "I was with SBD 33 years starting in 1954 as a lettering man/keyliner. Went into sales in'58... became V.P. in charge of sales, chief executive officer and eventually president in the 70's.

Reno Biondi/artist and Frank DeCicco/sales were the sole owners. Barry Stephens was a N.Y rep -- they used his name so as not to sound too Italian. Lucia was the only artist to be on a 70/30 commission split... all others were 60%/ 40% - artist receiving 60% of commision, studio 20%, and the salesman20%. New artists started at 50/50. Lucia moved to the west coast in the early 60's to be with her brother. She was missed, but we still had a great staff of artists including: Ed Augustiny, Bill Randall, Bill Baker, John Langston, Andy Aldridge, John Henry, Geraldo Carigotti... and of course Will Nelson."

Ken's note once more confirms how respected and valued Lucia was at SBD AND in the Chicago commercial art market. Her exceptional arrangement with the studio is particularly remarkable considering she was a woman competing in the 'man's world' of the 1950's.

What became of Lucia Lerner after she moved to the L.A. office of SBD in the early 60's remains a mystery. But just seeing some more of her excellent work is a gift in itself. Many thanks to David Apatoff for providing the tearsheets from which I scanned the images above.

* My Lucia Lerner Flickr set.


  1. You do a great job as historian, writer and detective!

    I hope you can find Lucia!

    PS: Illustration was just SO great way back when!

  2. Thanks, J.D. ! :^)

  3. Hi, I ran across your blogs about Lucia Lerner while researching an art piece that has been passed down through the family. She was my grandmother's sister. She was a wonderful woman who used to visited us randomly throughout the years. She has finally passed away several years ago from what my mother told me. She was always fun to visit with. She had a very vibrant and fun personality. She would always share stories about the art she was involved in.

  4. Thanks Adam;

    Its great to hear from someone who knew Lucia personally. If you are still in touch with any other of her family members, please send them a link to my blog posts and ask any of them who might be interested to contact me at lpeng[at]cogeco[dot]ca

    I would love to learn about Lucia's career in greater detail!