Monday, June 02, 2008

Dick Stone - An Original

Yesterday, for my birthday, I received this beautiful piece of original art by Dick Stone.

The artwork looks like it was done in ink wash, tinted slightly green, on illustration board. Stone then came in on top with white gouache - again tinted green - for the highlights and some of the background elements, creating a nice cohesion between foreground and background.

The over all effect is really nice! Stone brought just enough detail and accuracy to the architecture to create a sense of solidity and authenticity, without distracting the viewer from the focal point - his elderly subject.

The way Stone allows elements of the figure to drop away into shadow and others to fade away into light is also really effective. Nothing is belaboured. The artist understood that nonessential details would only distract from the mood and composition of the piece.

Walt Reed's Illustrator in America tells us that Dick Stone was "affiliated with Neeley Associates" (I presume that Neeley Associates was an art studio or art representative) and the reverse of the illustration board confirms this piece was created during that period in the artist's career.

Another interesting clue: The ad agency name,'BBD&O' is also written on the back -- so perhaps this piece was done for advertising - not a story illustration as one would at first assume.

I've been a fan of Dick Stone's work since I first came across it in Collier's magazine. Since then, I've located several more nice examples of his work in a variety of publications. This week, let's take a look at this extraordinary artist.

*My Dick Stone original came from Mitch Itkowitz's Graphic Collectibles website, where you'll find several more illustrations by the artist ( though I think I got the best one ). Mitch's site is a treasure trove of beautiful original art, most of which is out of my price range - but I must say, if you're in the market for a nice piece of original art, the Dick Stone originals Mitch has available are a steal.

My Dick Stone Flickr set.


  1. that s a stunning piece! beautiful draftsmanship and design in the drawing the execution. LUCKY you, Leif. happy birthday, indeed.

  2. Thank you Chuck! :-)

  3. My God, that is beautiful.

  4. Well put, Steve - I couldn't hope to improve on that! ;-)

  5. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Happy birthday Lief ! That sure is a beautiful piece. Stone must have had Bill Neeley as a rep, Bill was terrific, he and his partner, Randy Mulvey repped me in the 60's and 70's after I left Campbell-Ewald. They always found interesting assignments for me. At that time the company was called Neeley-Mulvey Associates and they were located at 45 W 45th Street in NY.

  6. Leif, best wishes and many more to come, sir. What an amazing birthday gift. The piece is truly beautiful
    and evocative. What is that man thinking about, siting there all alone? It's one of those pieces of art you could look at forever and simply answer in a million ways.

  7. Harry and Ron; Thanks for your birthday wishes!

    Harry; I knew I'd heard the name "Neeley" before - so that must where: from you, when we were preparing the week of posts on your career. many thanks for filling us in on the details of Neeley and Associates. Now I understan the additional handwritten scribble on the back of the piece: "45 W 45" - Neeley and Assoc.'s address!

    Ron; that's an interesting observation... I had read in an interview once with a fellow who had been the AD at one of thos 'Men's Sweat' magazines that they would sometimes have cover illustrations done and then give them to the writer to come up with a story - instead of the other way around!

    This IS one of those pieces which would be great for such an excercise in creative writing, isn't it?

  8. Happy birthday, Leif. You must have very generous friends.

  9. Anonymous1:24 PM

    A real happy birthday gift!

    How pensive this man! The background! A thousand stories one could write in an attempt to illustrate this illustration.

    Reminded me a bit of Rodin's famous sculpture of The Thinker.

  10. Thanks David; It was my wife who gave me this piece - but yes, I am blessed with many generous friends - I include you in that group.

    Rich; thank you for your enthusiastic comment... I like your Rodin comparison very much.

  11. Anonymous11:55 PM

    Happy belated birthday Leif!

  12. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Happy Be-lated! That artwork is awesome.

  13. Thanx raphy l. - I'm glad you like it :-)

  14. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Hello - I googled my father, Randy Mulvey to share any story that might be out there, and I saw the blog notes from a few of you. He started out with Neeley Assoc, then eventually Mulvey Associates, anthing you can possibly share about him I would love to share with his grandchildren that he never had the chance to meet. Thanks all-

    1. I worked for your Dad and may have met you. I recall all of his family coming into the Times Square office shortly after he died. I liked him alot and found him to be a very "real" kind of guy. Trying to quit smoking and ending up eating Tootsie Pops by the score. A real New yorker with lots of Oscar Madison in him. He gave me an old maple drawing table. I carried it home on the A train to Brooklyn.

  15. Neeley Mulvey was an artist rep agency I worked for in the early 80s as the studio kid delivering packages, cutting mattes and doing an occaisonal spot when needed. 45 west 45th. Bill Neeley died suddenly leaving the place to Randy and its focus moved to educational work.