Wednesday, January 07, 2009

West Coast Mid-Century Automotive Illustrators

Today I'm happy to play a supporting role to Charlie Allen as he discusses his experiences doing automotive illustrations for Chevy during the 1950's. Charlie mentions several other west coast artists with whom he worked on the Chevy account at Patterson & Hall in San Francisco.

Those artists included Fred Ludekens...

... Stan Galli...

... Bruce Bomberger...

... Gordon Brusstar...

... and although I didn't have an actual auto illustration by Dan Romano handy, at least this excellent line drawing, supplied by Charlie, was done for the Chevy account.

One other 'west coaster' Charlie didn't mention is Jimmy Hansen -- and I'm not sure if he actually worked on the Chevy account. But I know Charlie will be happy to see this beautiful piece Hansen did for GM in 1959.

And what about Chas. Allen himself? You'll have to visit Charlie Allen's blog (go right now!) to see some stunning examples of his own efforts on the Chevy account. If there was ever any doubt, the pieces Charlie shares with us this week are proof that he is a living master of the inked line - be sure to tell him you think so, too!

* This is a good time for me to point you toward both Harry Borgman's blog and Jim Bernardin's blog. At both sites you'll be able to read about and see many wonderful examples of what was going on with the Chevy account back east in the Motor City.


  1. Leif, you are rapidly becoming the world's greatest expert on mid-20th century automotive art.

    In addition to those great west coasters, you had east coasters like Robert Fawcett, Austin Briggs, Bernie Fuchs and Bob Heindel, all drawing cars! (Do you think this was the precursor to the rivalry between west coast and east coast rappers?)

    Today the most valuable asset of the now defunct Saturday Evening Post is the royalties that its successor collects for the use of those beautiful illustrations. Who would have thought when they were commissioning all those beautiful pictures over the years as an adornment to the magazine that the pictures would be the only thing that would last, and in fact increase in value? Some day in the near future, when GM, Ford and Chrysler have all gone bankrupt, they are going to wish they held onto those illustrations by Ludekens and others. They will be more valuable than the crumbling buildings and idle assembly lines!

  2. Leif, ya gotta write a book. David is right. Another name to add would be Chris Kenyon, who is still alive and living in Albion, Ca. He was one of my teachers, great fellow with stories to tell.

  3. P.S.,Looking at the Chevy ad with the family having fun by the lake, ever wonder why dad appears to be attaching a motor boat motor to the bumper? Man! They really built great cars back then! Amphibious, even!

  4. Anonymous5:49 PM

    LEIF.....GOT to 'go public' with thanks for the great Chevy TI and CA blogs today. The viewers should know Leif received partial scans, poor scans, not to mention flak as usual, from this contributer. Somehow, and I'm sure with great effort, he works his digital magic and stitches the stuff together and creates an attractive blog. Thanks doesn't really cover it. Couple of things....a treat to see the Chevy scans from the S.F. illustrators....several new to me. Those were busy days, and most of the time we didn't know what the other artists were working on. Of interest maybe, Jimmy Hanson was from Fresno, about three years ahead of me at Fresno High School. A veritable creative genius....sculptor, painter, and illustrator. He ended up in S.F. and was HD competition, especially on Kaiser Aluminum ads. Maybe later on I can do a JH blog on the clips I have. Cheers....CA

  5. Anonymous9:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Leif, a great post. I don't recall Jim Hansen illustrating any Chevy ads, however I do remember seeing a few great Chevy billboards that he did. I'll check with Jim Bernardin, he may have some photos that can post on his ABOUT OLD CHEVY ADS blog.

  7. I've been looking for automotive art like this for a long time. I recently started collecting a few pieces and was looking for a website where I could browse and order some. Any ideas, besides something like eBay?

    Car Tinting Grand Prairie

  8. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. Buy Tyres Online

  9. Excellent post. I was reviewing this blog continuously, and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information especially this page. Thank you and good luck. bảo hiểm thân vỏ xe ô tô

  10. The article was great, providing the information I was looking for. Thanks admin a lot.
    bảo hiểm ô tô loại nào tốt
    quyền lợi bảo hiểm ô tô
    bảo hiểm ô tô 5 chỗ

  11. Steelbird Tyres is a leading tires manufacturers in India. It has a sleek design that gives comfort to the rider as well as the pillion rider. And in order to achieve a quality riding performance, Yamaha saluto tyre size needs to conform to the recommendations made by the company.