Sunday, August 24, 2008

At Last - The Story of Jan Balet!

One of the first artists I took note of when I began Today's Inspiration was Jan Balet.

Not too surprising... compared to the more typical look of commercial art from the mid-century era, Balet's distinctive style (and unique-sounding name) are both thoroughly notable.

A lot of other people began taking note of Jan Balet about 65 years ago... his popularity with clients - both advertising and editorial - began almost as soon as he appeared on the commercial art scene.

Not long after, Balet started winning awards. The Art Directors Club of New York chose 5 of his illustrations for its advertising annuals in both 1947 and 1948.

But just who was this illustrator with the intriguing name and hard-to-categorize style?

Balet has no listing in Walt Reed's Illustrator in America, and although his work was included in Gene Byrnes' Complete Guide to Cartooning, the accompanying short write-up provides almost no information about the artist.

At last the story can be told! Back in late-1946 American Artist magazine did a feature story on the artist and only months later, in May 1947, showcased Balet's art on the magazine's cover. Recently I acquired both of those issues, so this week we will all finally learn a little about the artist.

I've mentioned before that I enjoy reviewing the details my Sitemeter collects on those who visit this blog. Many people arrive here because they have Googled an artist's name. You'd be amazed how regularily I see the name Jan Balet as the search term when I review my 'visits by referral'.

It will be a pleasure to finally be able to provide those searching for information (and all of you regular readers) with a biographical sketch of an artist who has long been one of my favourites: the always surprising, always delightful Jan Balet.

My Jan Balet Flickr set.


  1. he really was a master...i have a book called 'the snow queen' which he illustrated and i could stare at it for hours...thanks for posting about him...i'm looking forward to more!

  2. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Fantastic news Leif!

  3. Anonymous3:27 PM

    I like the adaption of a greek vase design.