Today's series is by a Detroit illustrator named Allan Kass, from a 1960 edition of Reader's Digest Condensed Books.
While there are plenty of well known and highly regarded mid-20th century illustrators...
... it's amazing to think that someone as skilled as Allan Kass could be virtually unknown -
- even by those of us who study this era in illustration closely.
Kass' work so brings to mind artists like Robert Fawcett or Austin Briggs that when I first discovered one of his Vaux Hall ads several years ago, I (and several others I consulted) were sure that it must be by one or the other.
Harald Henriksen, who has contributed so much to this blog over the years, was the first to determine that the artist in question was Allan Kass.
Since that time, we've learned quite a bit about Allan Kass. Rhonda Whiting, who loves Kass' later-period romance novel cover art and corresponded with the artist before he passed away, contacted me with quite a few biographical details. You can read those details at this link.
Rhonda has also created a blog dedicated to Allan Kass' book cover art where you'll find hundreds of examples scanned from her collection.
Not long after my first few posts about Allan Kass, I was contacted by his daughter, Susan. She wrote, "I can tell you that he was an amazing man in so many ways - and an enormously talented artist."
I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with that statement.
While I'm always on the lookout for more work by Allan Kass...
... it's not very easy to come by - which makes this small series from RDCB such a treat.
* One place where you'll find several more beautiful Allan Kass illustrations, from his Detroit automotive art period, is at graphiccollectibles.com
Mitch itkowitz has generously provided nice large scans of a half dozen originals he has for sale from the Allan Kass estate. Check 'em out!
* Many thanks to Reader's Digest Creative Director, Robert Newman for linking this week's posts to the Reader's Digest art Tumblr page! Robert has been posting some classics from the back covers of Reader's Digest from those days on the RD tumblr page. Be sure to go take a look!