Friday, November 23, 2007

A Few More by Rehberger

A note from Gustav Rehberger's wife, Pamela Demme, about the recent week when we looked at her late husband's work and career gives me an excuse to show you a few more pieces by the artist.

Pam writes, "I’m back in my office and just saw all the work you put up for Gustav. Leif, I’m floored. It’s a gorgeous display of his art. You did a wonderful job. I can only guess at the amount of work you put into it. Your comments after each illustration were perfect. He did worry more about “conveying mood and emotion… than getting the right kind of button on a shirt.”

"It’s ironic," Pam continues, "during the 80’s, he was told by some galleries to play down the fact that he was a former illustrator….or he’d be pegged as a “mere illustrator.” And now, the attention he’s getting on “Today’s Inspiration” is because he was an illustrator. At that time the art world looked down its nose at illustrators. The stigma hurt Gustav. He deleted “illustrator” from his bio for many years.

Pam also clarified something I had misread from my source material: in my first post I mentioned that "During the Depression he was turned down for two college scholarships."

In fact, Rehberger turned down the two scholarships in order to support his parents, brother and sister. "He was the only one working at the time," explains Pam.

Pam also answers a question from David Apatoff - who asked if Gustav Rehberger's personality was as fiery and volcanic as much of his work.

"Gustav was the complete opposite of his art," writes Pam. "All that volcanic fury was channeled into his art."

Later in his career, Rehberger would give live drawing performances accompanied by classical music. Pam still has many of those perfomances on video tape and says, "I was looking through my list of videos of Gustav's lectures and music and art performances. [Looking at those tapes] you can see how totally unpretentious Gustav was."

All of today's images have been added to my Gustav Rehberger Flickr set.


  1. Always it’s a pleasure look the beautiful illustrations here.


  2. Anonymous12:25 PM

    I was totally unaware of this illustrator, but am much impressed by the examples of his work. It would be great if some of the videotapes could be edited into an available CD, though regretably, I don't know how much of a market exists for such a thing.

  3. Bob and I are on the same page, about purchasing a CD of Rehberger's demos. I have always been fascinated at watching other illustrator's approach and methods of rendering. What a shame that the galleries considered someone with a successful illustration background, as anything but an asset in the fine art world. Unfortunately, others as well as myself, have experienced similar attitudes from galleries.

    Tom Watson

  4. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Great Blog! I love these illustrations. Respect and Greetinx from Hamburg, Germany

  5. What a great post!! Love that you got feedback and info from his wife - how very cool!!!

  6. Thank you all for your comments! Its great to hear that so many folks enjoyed seeing gustav rehberger's work. I know pam will really enjoy reading your comments. L :-)

  7. Leif, I agree with Bob and Tom about seeing some of these videotapes, but I'm also wondering whether you are able to post a few minutes of one on Today's Inspiration. I am told (by my young children) that it is easy to do, and I know your readers would love to see it. It would take TI to a whole different level.

  8. Anonymous5:05 PM

    I love to see the family, & friends of your featured illustrators post a message, not to mention the illustrators themselves!

    It must feel very rewarding!

    love your work...but i am biased i supose, from your favourite sister in law!

  9. Haha - thanks Maggie! You made my day! :-)

  10. My husband and I have two original Gustav Rehberger paintings. I do not know the names of them, if they have names. I wonder if they are originals for work that appeared in Esquire magazine. My husband's grandfather was a vice pres for Esquire. He worked there from the 30's to the 60's. How might I find out if our paintings appeared in the magazine?

  11. Great paintings! This is what you can try at home!