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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Ray Prohaska (1901-1981)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recently I received a note from Tony Prohaska, the son of prominent mid-century illustrator Ray Prohaska - another artist I've been meaning to devote some time to on the blog. Prohaska was born in Mulo, Yugoslavia and came to the U.S. as a child. He studied art in San Francisco and found work on the West Coast and Chicago before moving to New York in 1930. There he established a successful career illustrating for all the major magazines and for advertising clients. He won many exhibition awards and served as president of the Society of Illustrators in 1959-60.


Looking at this small sampling of Prohaska's work, I'm fascinated by the tremendous variation in styles. You may be surprised to hear that the top piece was done in 1950 while the middle piece was done seven years later. You'd almost expect the reverse, wouldn't you?


And then this piece below, which was contributed by Charlie Allen, suggests even more that Prohaska was what I have dubbed a "restless illustrator" - one who enjoys searching... trying new things... is not content to settle into one 'signature' style. I've asked Tony Prohaska about this and several other aspects of his dad's career, and he promised to write back with some answers.


Meanwhile, Tony has put together an extensive website devoted to his dad's life, where you can read a very thorough biography and see many more examples of the artist's work. Go to The Art of Ray Prohaska for more.

* My Ray Prohaska Flickr set.

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