Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eric: "the suave delineator of chic femininity"

In Forty Illustrators and How They Work, author Ernest W. Watson writes, "There is no reason, of course, why the suave delineator of chic femininity, whose drawings for twenty years have given poignance to America's smartest fashion magazine, should not have been born in Joliet, Illinois."

"But it would not be expected. Such graphic sophistication one might insist must emanate from an artist Parisian born and Parisian bred."

"Erickson, as a matter of fact, has lived most of his professional life in France - from 1920, in the early years of his career, until 1940."

"With his wife and daughter he left France several weeks after its occupation by Hitler's legions; taking with him no more of his goods and chattels than could be jammed into a few suitcases."

"However, he had his fortune in his hands; he needed nothing but a brush and a little color to reestablish himself back home."

"Here he was right on Vogue's doorstep ready to continue his monthly contributions which have appeared in that magazine without interruption since 1923."

"He was also within arm's length of national advertisers who at once began to compete for his elegant drawings, as French merchants had done previously."

*Many thanks for all the entertaining and informative comments yesterday. For readers who missed them, they are well worth taking the time to read.

* Today's scans are courtesy of TI list member, Jeff Smith -- many thanks, Jeff!

My Carl Erickson Flickr set.


  1. This is so strange to look at-- the man was obviously a big influence on Rene Gruau as these look like rawer, unrefined versions of what Gruau would later polish to perfection. There must be some connection there.

  2. I agree with tonci, I immediately thought of Gruau.

  3. They both worked around the same time so I'm sure they knew each others work.

    Eric was Vogues number one artist. If you look at old issues you can see other artists copying his style.

  4. Leif, fantastic posts as usual. Eric's work is a joy to behold. I've read that both he and Gruau are a major influence on contemporary fashion illustrator David Downton. Keep up the great work and any chance of a piece on Gruau in the near future?

  5. Until this week, I was only vaguely aware of René Gruau and Carl Erickson, so I am grateful to everyone who has helped with both art and information (and there's more to come!)

    As for a week on Gruau, that will again depend on whether others pitch in. I really don't have anything on him in my magazine collection, unfortunately...

  6. leif- i have that one french book on him (not sure if there are any other books, at least in print). maybe i could scan some stuff?

  7. (book on Gruau, that is)

  8. As long as its not currently in print, Tonci - then you bet - I'd appreciate that very much! :^)

  9. ah- it's a 2002 edition- no hope of going out of print soon, i think.

    but i have seen stuff from the book online at places...

  10. Aahh. Too bad... I hesitate to tread on someone else's in-print material. Let's wait and see if someone comes up with some scans of their own from the original source... but thank you for the generous offer :^)

  11. Anonymous7:54 AM

    Very creative, nice and abstract.