Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Louis Glanzman: "I got my art training in comics"

Yesterday I called Lou and Fran Glanzman to ask about Lou's career during the 1950s. Lou, who is 87 and still paints every day (!) is having a little trouble with his hearing so Fran very graciously agreed to be the go-between. We talked for nearly an hour, with Lou chiming in now and then to provide specifics Fran was unsure of.

I learned that Lou Glanzman had a rep named John Locke, who also represented John Pike and Ronald Searle, and that it was Locke who got Lou his first assignment for Collier's.

The earliest examples of Lou Glanzman's Collier's illustrations I managed to find are the spot illustration above and the last piece from yesterday's post - also a spot. Those two came from February and March of 1952.

In April '52 Lou did the magnificent montaged double page spread below, entitled "Honkytonk - U.S.A."

I asked Fran if she or Lou remembered this piece but unfortunately neither of them did. I find it incredibly powerful and fascinating. We talked briefly about Al Parker and I asked if he had been an influence on Lou, because of the graphic quality of this piece, and because of the montage effect, but Lou said no. The montage effect Lou often employed during the '50s was of his own devising. Parker, he relayed to Fran who passed the comment on to me, was more of a romance artist while Lou was an adventure illustrator.

Back in 2005 my friend Jim Amash conducted an interview with Lou Glanzman for issue #46 of Alter Ego magazine. They talked at length about Lou's early professional work in comic books, before his W.W. II service in the Army Air Force. Jim asked Lou why he didn't return to comics after the war and Lou told him, "Because I wanted to be an "artiste."

Lou said, "When the war was over, I got married and had responsibilities. I ran into the same kind of trouble I had when I started. I went to publishers and they told me to "go back to school."

"I started painting and my first big break was with True Magazine. I was a jazz buff and I had the good fortune to do work with an original manuscript... it was a manuscript Louis Armstrong wrote about New Orleans. I painted a picture for it in my first house. It was an enormous painting, and I knew I had hit the big time."

Not bad for a self-taught artist who told Jim Amash, "I got my art training in comics. I did go to the School of Industrial Arts in New York..."

"... but most of the time I played hooky at the burlesque shows on 42nd Street."

* Alter Ego #46 with a Lou Glanzman interview by Jim Amash is still available from the publisher.

* My Louis S. Glanzman Flickr set.


  1. I thought the name Glanzman rang a bell, and recall that there was a Sam Glanzman who worked in the comics industry for Dell, Charlton, and DC. In "Comic Book Artist" magazine issue#5 there's a short interview him and he mentions his older brother Louis. They apparantly sometimes used the last name "Decker."

  2. That's correct, db;

    There is a third Glanzman brother, Dave, but I haven't heard much about his art career. The Sam Glanzman interview you mention might be the one I linked to in my first day's post. You can take a look at it by clicking on the words "in an interview" in yesterday's post :^)

  3. No, Leif, they're not the same interviews, but both cover much of the same material. The web article is much longer. The magazine article is by Jon Cooke and Don Mangus from Nov 1997.
    He says the younger brother (Dave Charles) wasn't an artist, maybe a writer or office worker.

  4. I loved the cover of the National Lampoon he did with the hippie getting a haircut.

    There's also an issue of Illustration magazine that features Louis Glanzman:issue #19, summer 2007.

  5. Anonymous3:40 PM

    What timing. I just bought a couple of Time magazine's with his work on the covers from 1968.

  6. Since I first saw Glanzman's Honkytonk USA here in this post it has stayed with me. I even put the image on cigar box guitar that I made. Now I happened to see the original appears to be for sale at http://grapefruitmoongallery.com/50691 but sadly out of my price range. Not sure if you keep an eye on this blog anymore, but thought I would pass it along.