Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Female Illustrators of the 50's: Barbara Schwinn

If any one female illustrator of the 50's can claim to have held her own with the top romance story artists of the day, it would be Barbara Schwinn. Her work appeared almost as regularly in magazines like Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Home Companion and so on, as did the work of Coby Whitmore, Al Parker or any of the other 'usual suspects'.

Walt Reed's Illustrator in America tells us that Schwinn was born in 1907, wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 12, studied at Parson's ( both in New York and Paris) and began her professional career drawing fashions and accessories for department stores. I was surprised to learn that her next job was drawing "continuity comic strips" (I wonder which ones?) before settling into the magazine illustration career I'm more familiar with.

Over time Schwinn's specialty seems to have become portraiture, as more and more often was evident in the type of magazine assignments she produced.

Reed's biography of Schwinn states that she was commissioned to paint the portraits of Queen Sirikit, Princess Margaret and Princess Grace, Deborah Kerr, Conrad Hilton and many others.

* My Barbara Schwinn Flickr set.

* Also: Be sure to visit Charlie Allen's Blog for the latest CAWS: "Odds and Ends"


  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Has anyone noticed that, starting with your post on Arpi Ermoyan, the female illustrators are a whole lot better looking than the male illustrators?

  2. Hah. Very funny, Anonymous. :^)

  3. Her illustration of the "Imperfect Lady" looks like it may have been loosely referenced from a photo of Kim Novak. Just my guess though.

    1. I think not:

      The Imperfect lady. By I. A. R. Wylie.
      (In Today's woman, Feb. 1950) © 18Jan50

      That would be years before Kim Novak ever made a movie. She would have been seventeen at the time.

  4. Richie4:16 PM

    Barbara Schwing!

  5. Wow She is wearing lovely Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started =
    frock for girls, i love the confidence, the way she is carrying her frock.