Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Return of the Hand O' God!

Last time I featured some examples of the Union Carbide "Hand O' God" series it prompted an impressive thread of 32 comments. Today, thanks to the remarkable revelations in comment #32, "the Hand" is back...

Dear Leif; this blog was just referred to me by our son, a videogame concept artist.

As a teenager, I saw my father, Nat White, painting most of the images you have of the Union Carbide paintings.

He was a humble but renowned illustrator working for Caulkins & Holden ad company, and savored doing these paintings from beginning to end. He was looking hard for the right hands to illustrate.

Then at "Hamburger Express" in Glen Cove, Long Island, I remember Dad whispering to Mom, "there they are, the hands!" Sure enough, a man sitting down the way had massive hands. He was a longshoreman in Brooklyn, and more than happy to come to Manhattan to have them photographed in a variety of poses.

Many years later, Dad came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In his mind and ours, the utter hubris of the Union Carbide ads became a perfect vehicle for scriptural truths appropriate to each illustration.

Yet even before his New Birth, he painted these " a hand in things to come" with genuine awe.

Sincerely, Christine White Jorgensen, Florida

* Many thanks, Christine (and to your son) for clearing up the mystery of who was responsible for the Union Carbide ads. Nat White is another mid-century illustrator whose work I have long admired. Readers can see a small selection of his other ad artwork in my Nat White Flickr set.


  1. Hubris?
    Great hands though! Great illustrations! Also the liberties Mr.White took while adding the reddish glow in the last picture's atomic hands here. Which was not on the handy photograph, probably.

  2. Anonymous7:58 PM

    I like these illustrations :D

  3. These are all amazing, but I love the coloring in the surgery one.

  4. Hello,
    I saw your article on the illustrator Mia Carpenter and thought you might be able to help me find out if a painting I have is by her.
    I bought the painting a while ago, not far from where she went to school, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
    I don't see where I can send you a picture of here so maybe you'll contact me if you can help.
    Thank you in advance and Happy Holidays.