Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jack Welch: A Christmas Revelation

For some time now I've been admiring the work of an artist responsible for a long series of mid-1950's Jello ads.

These unsigned ads have a distinct style unlike anything else I'd come across in my collection of magazines. It was a real frustration not knowing who was responsible for them.

Well, thanks once again to the December 1962 issue of McCall's, that mystery may be solved. Alongside all the other artwork we've been looking at for the past week are the two spreads below... illustrated by Jack Welch.

"Jack Welch (born 1905 in Cleburne, Texas, died 1985) was an American illustrator known for his drawings and gouache paintings of droll family activities and his cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators," says the artist's listing on Wikipedia. That might be all the info we'll find about Welch for the time being.

Whether he actually is responsible for those Jello ads is subject to opinion. To me, it looks like he is. But judge for yourself: take a closer look at Welch's artwork in my Jack Welch Flickr set.

And as a final note, let's pause to marvel once again at the volume of artwork McCall's AD Otto Storch commissioned for that December 1962 issue! It really is remarkable.

By contrast, consider this: that same issue contained nearly one hundred ads (yes, I counted them!) including many full and double page spreads. None contained any illustration of substance (a few used some small illustrative elements set into photography) In total, no more than 5 ads used any illustration at all.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:10 AM

    I just found your blog through David Apatoff and first of all, wowza, I'm really looking forward to reading it all.

    But I'm so interested that you posted about Jello because I posted about Jello ads on my site, too. I have a huge collection of jello recipe booklets going back to the beginning of the 20th century. The illustrations are fascinating and the printing is lucious.

    They are a marvelous bit of social and art history.

    Jello used lots of famous illustrators: Rose O'Neil, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, William Steig to name a few.Jello jumped on the advertising bandwagon early and used it brilliantly.

    I sometimes feel like I'm out on a limb exhibiting Jello advertising in my art gallery, so websites like yours help me know that my vision is not completely wigged out.

    I don't think that Blogger can pick up my URL so I hope you don't mind that I post it here for the Jello link.

    thanks. Liza Cowan