Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Ward Brackett: Around 1950

During that month-long series on Haddon Sundblom I posted back in December I showed some examples of work done by Sunny's many apprentices. Among those I presented was this piece by Ward Brackett.


My friend and frequent TI guest author David Roach was really taken by that piece (as were many others) so as a token of appreciation for David's continuing support and encouragement, I decided maybe it was time to devote a week on the blog to Ward Brackett.

As mentioned, Ward Brackett started his commercial art career in Haddon Sundblom's Chicago studio. The year was 1934 and Brackett was just 20 years old. After 4 years at Sunny's, Brackett moved to Grauman Studios and in 1940 his career took a giant step up...


... to New York City and the Charles E. Cooper studio.


Unfortunately I have no examples from this early on in Ward Brackett's career.


The earliest credited artwork I have begins in the late 1940s. Above, a 1948 story illustration by Ward Brackett, done for Good Housekeeping magazine. Below, two more 1948 Brackett illustrations, this time for Woman's Home Companion.



By this time Ward Brackett was no longer at Cooper's. I have ads from '46 and '47 listing Brackett among a large group of illustrators repped by Barry Stephens.


Stephens had a strong affiliation with the commercial art studios in Chicago. Note that the artist listed immediately below Brackett, Euclid Shook, is a fellow Sundblom studio alumnus - and you have to wonder if Brackett was lured away by Stephens to be reunited with a group of 'old friends'...


Whatever the case, Stephens must have been successful at landing Ward Brackett the sort of assignments he wanted.


Not only was he now regularly illustrating stories in various women's magazines...


... but in 1949 and throughout 1950 Brackett was providing the art for the high profile Sanfordized ads that appeared monthly in all the major magazines of the day.


Gilbert Bundy and James Williamson are also remembered for working on the Sanfordized series...


... as is Dink Siegel, and if Brackett's work on the account is distinctive in any way, its by being the most 'straight' (or least cartoony) of the various styles of artwork that were used.



In 1952, although no longer repped by Barry Stephens, Brackett continued to land high profile assignments.


I don't know if he was working independently or with some other studio, but Brackett's star seems to have continued its upward trajectory. It was that year that Ward Brackett painted this lovely young lady for the 1952 Esquire pin-up calendar.


A testament to the timeless appeal of this tasteful appreciation of feminine beauty, nearly 60 years later it continues to be one of the most viewed images in my Flickr archives. To date, its been viewed nearly 10,000 times!

* My Ward Brackett Flickr set


  1. Anonymous6:52 PM

    A very talented pupil... thanks for the post :) !!!

  2. thanks, for this discovery, amazing job !