Monday, March 16, 2009

Thornton Utz: "I am an experimenter"

Thornton Utz once said, "I dislike duplication. I am always experimenting - it's part of my work."

"I'd rather do the whole painting over than follow a tried-and-true pattern."

Much like the artists we looked at last week, Thornton Utz was a restless illustrator... and a wildly successful one at that. He was a frequent cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post, where he usually employed a gentle, slightly cartoony realism...

...but could effortlessly adjust his style when the material required a different 'voice'.

Utz's versatility seems to have been the key to his success, since assignments from all the major magazines - as well as advertisers - were never in short supply during the busy and lucrative 40's and 50's.

In a November 1957 article in American Artist, Ernest W. Watson wrote, "Utz's inventiveness is augmented by a persistence that will not be satisfied until after he has made the most painstaking exploration of a picture's possibilities."

This week we will take a closer look at the work of Thornton Utz, and examine the admirable quality of his persistent exploration. Let's give Utz himself the last word:

"Don't pin me down or quote me as a believer in this or that - I might feel differently tomorrow and make a liar out of you."

* My Thornton Utz Flickr set.


  1. I'm really loving these style mixes you've been posting. fascinating!

  2. Anonymous6:08 PM

    Hee hee. You should have posted the "Hungover" piece on New Year's day. :)

  3. Kyle; Thanks! I'm very happy to hear that :^)

    Michael; Dang! That's a great idea! Oh, well... a missed opportunity. ;^)