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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Raymond F. Houlihan (1923 - 1991) Part2

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In the 1950s, Ray Houlihan was already well established as a book illustrator. Here's one example, published by Doubleday in 1956...

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As mentioned yesterday, aside from Coronet magazine...

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... where his work was often printed far too small to be truly appreciated...

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... Houlihan doesn't seem to have managed to penetrate the mainstream consumer magazine market during the 1950s.

But in the 1960s his work did appear in Reader's Digest - both the magazine...

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... and in Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

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Once again, Houlihan's work had to endure small reproduction...

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... and poor paper and printing quality.

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In spite of those shortcomings, the artist clearly put tremendous effort into his work. That quality shines through.

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Noticeably at this point, Houlihan seems to have begun working in full colour (he occasionally painted in colour during the '50s, but not often).

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Even when he was 'painting' in colour however, as Walt Reed wrote about Houlihan in his book, "The Illustrator in America", "... his pictures are all distinctly linear in nature..."

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"... even when in halftone."

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The last appearance of Ray Houlihan's work I was able to find was in The Rotarian magazine. First in the April 1966 issue...

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... where once again we can compare his painted and linear art...

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... and again in October 1971.

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That later issue included a brief passage about the artist...

"Ray Houlihan of Union Square in New York City did [the illustration on] page 40," wrote the editor of The Rotarian. "Specializing in historical subjects, he currently has work in Reader's Digest, American Heritage, and many other magazines and books. He once lived and worked (in the army) on the Old San Antonio Road. Ray studied at the famed Art Students League in New York City, does photography as a hobby, lists under "Family: one beautiful wife."

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This was Ray Houlihan's work at age 48. What came during the following 20 year of the artist's life? Lambiek.net, the comic creator biographical website says "Houlihan then focused on painting, and has exhibited widely in both museums and historical institutions in the U.S., London and the Middle East."

Unfortunately I was unable to find any examples of that later-period work. Ray Houlihan was a member of the Society of Illustrators. He died in 1991.

2 comments

  1. This is amazing:
    Powerful man!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found this post while looking for "An Ax, an Apple and a Buckskin Jacket," a favorite children's book of my youth. Houlihan did the illustrations in both color and B&W; even as a grade schooler, I was struck by their quality. Glad to see he resonated with others.

    ReplyDelete

 

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