Friday, July 08, 2011

From Ben Shahn to Bob Peak - and Beyond. What's the Connection?

I'll try to explain next week.


But feel free to comment if you do (or don't) see where I'm going with this.




  1. Thank you for your blog its brilliant.

  2. Well thanks, Ira - I really appreciate that! :^)

  3. "From Ben Shahn to Bob Peak - and Beyond. What's the Connection? "

    It allowed people like Rob Liefeld to get jobs as professional artists and illustrators?

  4. Haha! Good one, Armand. ;^)

  5. I definitely see where you are going, Leif. In fact, i had made the correlation myself after your introduction of Shahn's work to me.

    I think the connection is the strongest in Peak's ad work from the early 60's. The jagged conte pencil drawings overlaid with fields of color. Also the composition is very similar as well. Anyway, those are suppositions. Looking forward to your erudite observations, Leif.

  6. i am just along for your ride. enjoyed the show. great art. great action. fun racy post. thank you.

  7. I saw Peak and Fuchs as savvy illustrators that had exceptional taste in color and design as well as other advanced sophisticated picture making skills. They may or may not have looked at Ben Shahn's work and said to themselves, "hey, I should incorporate some of that kind of thinking into my illustrations", nor do I know if some innovative ADs said, "Bernie and Bob, give me some of that Ben Shahn look in your illustrations on this assignment. But, it was believed that the top illustrators most likely were more influenced by sources like Gustav Klimt, Edward Degas, Paul Cezanne, Edward Manet, James Whistler, the Japanese wood block printers and others in art history. Regardless, Peak and Fuchs never abandoned their traditional professional skills and always kept their eye on the ball. Ironically, when Howard Pyle and N.C.Wyeth were on top, the illustrator was not different from the fine artist at that time, especially in magazine story illustration. Quite a few fine artists had been or were working illustrators in much the same style and subject matter. But, that was also well before photography became competitive with the illustrator or was used regularly as a tool by most illustrators.

    Tom Watson