David Apatoff, who wrote the issue-long article on Bernie Fuchs in Illustration magazine #15, sent a message the other day:
"Leif, I am sending three illustrations by Bernie from 1958 -- a series he did for Coke when he first broke out of the pack."
"Here is what is special about these. In the first picture, the girl is wearing a high school sweater with a big "O" on it."
"That stands for O'Fallon-- the small town where Bernie grew up and married his high school sweetheart."
"This series of illustrations for Coke was when Bernie first began to pick up momentum, at the beginning of a 50 year, worldwide career. At this early stage, he was still looking over his shoulder at the little town in rural Illinois that he had left behind."
"If you look at the third picture, someone has written in ballpoint pen, "March 2, 1958." That was written by Bernie's mother in law back in O'Fallon."
"In those days, his mother in law was clipping out and saving the artwork of the young man who had taken her little girl away to the big city (Detroit). I get the impression that not many people ever left O'Fallon, but when someone escaped and made good-- actually had a picture published in a national magazine..."
"... the home town was very proud."
Many thanks to David for sharing these rare, early Bernie Fuchs illustrations with us - and for the charming anecdote that accompanies them. Be sure to visit David's blog, Illustration Art - always guaranteed to be a fascinating read!
* My Bernie Fuchs Flickr set.