Louis Rhead Bibliography Chicago

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THE PICTORIAL POSTER IN AMERICA.

In the sweet uses of advertisement the American is surely an expert, and it would have been curious indeed, if he had overlooked so obvious and so effective a method of advertising as the pictorial poster. Finding, in the notorious phrase of Mr. Whistler, that "Art was on the town," the American advertiser was one of the most eager of those passing gallants who chucked her under the chin. Who it was originated the artistic poster movement in the States, it were hard to say with certainty: it may have been Mr. Matt. Morgan. Among recent American poster producers, three, however, are most conspicuous, Mr. Edward Penfield, Mr. Louis J. Rhead, and Mr. Will. H. Bradley. It is probable that the first-named was the innovator: at least, one would be tempted to judge so from the quantity of his designs.

Mr. Penfield is still young, having been born at Brooklyn in the year 1866, so that if he was the first American artist to deal with the poster, the movement in that continent is obviously a recent one. Most of his posters are on a small scale, and partake of the nature of window-bills rather than of placards especially destined to the hoarding. At the same time, Mr. Penfield has been by no means slow to appreciate that it is the first

 

DESIGN BY EDWARD PENFIELD.

 

business of an advertisement to advertise, and his appreciation of this fact, coupled with a very dainty fancy and no small technical skill, has led to results which are of unquestionable importance. With his earliest efforts I cannot pretend to be well acquainted. In 1893 he produced for a firm at Salem a large bill which measures eighty-one by forty-two inches. The subject is a girl in a black dress and yellow jacket who is laden with packages. For

DESIGN BY EDWARD PENFIELD.

the publications of the firm of Harpers, Mr. Penfield has done quite a quantity of excellent and artistic advertisements. Amongst the most effective is one produced for a special midsummer number of "Harper's Bazar," representing a girl playing a banjo, divided by a crimson sun from an attentive listener of the opposite sex. Again, for the issue of July, 1894, the artist gives us a girl in white lighting red crackers arranged to spell the name of the month. For the February number of the following year, we are presented, most appropriately, with a gentleman posting a valentine in an orange coloured letter-box. In April of the same year, Mr. Penfield gives us Joan of Arc in yellow, wielding sword and staff. Amongst the numerous books which Mr. Penfield has advertised may be mentioned "The Cloister and the Hearth," "Pastime Stories," "Our English Cousins," and "Perlycross." This artist's work is always ingeniously conceived, and the colour schemes are not seldom pleasantly audacious. Mr. Penfield gives us very agreeable versions of the American girl in general, and of the "summer girl" in particular. His maidens are adorably conscious of their power to charm, and are fully alive to the fact that their gowns are of the smartest.

To turn from Mr. Penfield to Mr. Louis J. Rhead is to turn to an artist settled in the United States, but English by birth and education. Mr. Rhead was born at Etruria, that unclassical place with the classical name, and comes of a family of artists. He was, I believe, a student at South

 

DESIGN BY EDWARD PENFIELD.

 

DESIGN BY LOUIS J. RHEAD (FOR THE NEW YORK "SUN").

Kensington for several years, and only reached America in 1883. He has exhibited at the

 

DESIGN BY LOUIS J. RHEAD.

 

Salon and the Academy and other important picture shows.

Mr. Rhead seems to have taken to the poster with the greatest enthusiasm, and he has undoubtedly produced a series of curious and striking designs. By far the most important of his efforts, though not the largest, are the designs which he has done for the New York "Sun." In one of these very daring productions, a crimson sun glows in a golden sky. The ground is green, the footpath and the trees are blue, while the girl's costume is garnet and red. It must be confessed that this colour scheme sounds somewhat formidable, but Mr. Rhead has invented an arrangement at once artistic and compelling. The lettering, it must be noted with regret, is not from his own hand. One of the largest of Mr. Rhead's posters is the "Pearline," in which a girl in a green and red dress is represented in the act of pinning a sheet on to a line. This design measures forty-one by twenty-eight inches. Of considerable size, and of no small merit, is the poster executed for the "Century," Christmas, 1894, the chief feature of which is a girl with a peacock. Among other effective designs which stand to the credit of Mr. Rhead may be mentioned those advertising "Harper's Bazar," Christmas, 1890, Thanksgiving, 1894, and Christmas of the same year. For the "Century," besides that already noticed, he has done several interesting posters, and he helped to advertise various numbers of "St. Nicholas" last year. It is to be noted that

 

DESIGN BY LOUIS J. RHEAD.

Mr. Louis Rhead has held an exhibition of his posters, the catalogue of which, by reason of its very characteristic and personal

DESIGN BY LOUIS J. RHEAD.

 

decorations, is highly esteemed by collectors of those unconsidered trifles which end in becoming especially dear to the connoisseur.

Among the magazines of the world, the "Chap Book," which emanates from Chicago, is by no means the least interesting. Fascinating as is the title, the contents of this little periodical are still more so; its editors seem to have eschewed banality, and to have gone in for novelty, even when the new did not possess an extraordinary degree of merit. It were meet that so original a publication should have an advertiser of corresponding eccentricity. In Mr. Will. H. Bradley, the proprietors of the "Chap Book" undoubtedly possess such an one. Born at Springfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Bradley lives in Chicago, and to that town and its publications he has mainly devoted his energies as an artist advertiser. It will hardly be disputed that he has seen and assimilated, in no small degree, the manner of Mr. Aubrey Beardsley. He is, however, a great deal more than a mere imitator; what he has borrowed, he has borrowed with conspicuous intelligence, and nobody could for a moment accuse him of anything approaching petty larceny. Among his most important posters is a colossal one which, in the manner of Mr. Beardsley, proclaims the attractions of the drama by Mr. Henry Arthur Jones, entitled "The Masqueraders." In 1894 Mr. Bradley advertised the "Chap Book" by means of two dancers in red and brown costumes; the following year he insisted on the same publication by means of a girl in white and a man in black; and yet again, through the medium of a young lady in blue, mixed up with trees in intense purple, outlined with red and white; and several other equally effective compositions.

Mr. Bradley is, however, not the only artist intimately connected with Chicago who has distinguished himself in the production of posters. A native of that city, Mr. Will. Carqueville, has done very interesting work for the firm of Lippincott's. In the year 1894, at least one design by him was commissioned, and in the succeeding year he produced four or more. That he is not afraid of colour is proved by the fact that in the poster done for Lippincott's, March, 1895, he combines dark purple, yellow, blue, and bronze. In another design we meet with red, purple, yellow, and blue. Mr. Kenyon Cox is an American artist whose fame is by no means confined to the United States. A pupil of Gerôme and Carolus Duran, he has, so far as I know, made only one essay in the art of the poster. This measures eighty-one by forty inches, and is in black and white. It represents a male figure carrying a torch, and is an advertisement for "Scribner's Magazine." Mr. Scotson Clark was a schoolfellow of Mr. Aubrey Beardsley. He has, among other posters, done two to which the picturesque labels of "Our Lady of the Peacock Feather," and "Lady of the Iris," are attached. In addition, for the March issue of the "Bookman," 1895, Mr. Scotson Clark drew a monk, with book in hand. Mr. George Wharton Edwards, the well-known painter in water-colours, must be credited with three designs for the "Century," in the months of February, March, and April, 1895. Moreover, by means of a drawing of a girl and a peacock, he proclaimed the twenty-eighth annual exhibition of the American Water-Colour Society, in addition to designing a bill for a book entitled "The Man Who Married the Moon." The advertising enterprise of the firm of Scribner has made poster-collectors the richer by one or two productions by Mr. Charles Gibson Dana. He it was who announced, with no inconsiderable skill, the issues of "Scribner's Magazine" for the months of January and February, 1895. Mr. Archie Gunn is the son of a well-known drawing master in one of the large towns of the Midlands. Leaving England for America, he found an outlet for his talent as a draughtsman on the New York journal "Truth." His work is nearly always vivacious, even where it is not particularly original. His posters were done for the "Illustrated American," and are by no means bad examples of his craftsmanship. Like most prominent American artists, Mr. Thomas Burford Meteyard studied in Paris. His poster to advertise a book called

 

DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

A FRAGMENT OF A DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

A FRAGMENT OF A POSTER FOR "THE MASQUERADERS," BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

DESIGN BY WILL H. BRADLEY.

 

"Songs from Vagabondia" is in black and white, and consists of portraits of the artist himself and the authors of the book, Mr. Bliss Carman and Mr. Richard Hovey. A limited number of copies were printed "sur Japon," and these, I believe, are rare. As in the case of so many other American artists, Mr. Francis Day's poster work was done for the most part for the great illustrated magazines which do such credit to the United States, as an art-producing nation. Mr. Day's design for "St. Nicholas," Christmas, 1894, seems to me altogether agreeable, while in the series designed for "Scribner's Magazine," more than one interesting thing will be found.

In dealing with the poster in England, we have noticed the fact that one woman, Mrs. Dearmer, has succeeded in producing a bill at once artistic and effective. Miss Ethel Reed would seem to be the most conspicuous lady-artist who has taken up the designing of artistic posters in the States. Her efforts date only from last February, when she did an advertisement for the "Boston Sunday Herald." Since then she has produced several designs which are held in considerable esteem by American collectors. Amongst other artists who have taken part in the poster movement on the other side of the Atlantic are the following: Messrs. Alder ("New York World," March 17th, 1895), Allen, Palmer Cox ("New Brownie Book"), C. Miles Gardner ("Boston Sunday Herald," February 10th, 1895, and March 10th, 1895), Oliver Herford, Charles M. Howard ("Boston Sunday Herald," April 21st, 1895), Frank King ("New York World," April 7th, 1895), H. McCarter (the Green Tree Library), Moores ("St. Nicholas," November, 1894), Julius A. Schweinfurth (Boston Festival Orchestra, 1895), W. Granville Smith ("Scribner's Magazine," Christmas, 1894), W. L. Taylor, Abby E. Underwood, R. Wills Irving, C. H. Woodbury, Charles Hubbard Wright, and William M. Paxton. The last named has been chiefly associated with the "Boston Sunday Herald," and for that journal he has produced several posters of distinction.

My review of the artistic poster movement in America has been of necessity brief, and cannot, therefore, be free from sins of omission. In writing it, I have, where my own knowledge has seemed to me insufficient, made use of the descriptive catalogue of the collection of American posters published last May by Mr. Charles Knowles Bolton, of Brookline, Massachusetts. From the useful bibliography printed at the end of this pamphlet, it would seem that the movement has been watched from the first by the American press with keen interest. So far back as the year 1892, we find Mr. Brander Matthews discussing the pictorial poster in the "Century" magazine. In the

 

present year the subject has been dealt with by writers in such important newspapers as

the "New York Tribune" and the "Boston Herald," to say nothing of such journals as "Scribner's Magazine," the "Critic," the "Art Interchange," and the "Art Amateur." Quite recently the English public have had opportunities of seeing the best work by French and native artists. It is to be hoped that at the next poster exhibition they will be afforded a chance of seeing what excellent work American designers are doing in this very practical branch of applied art.

A poster by Mr. E. A. Abbey, illustrated on page 315, arrived too late for consideration in its proper place. It is entirely worthy the great reputation of the artist who has so kindly permitted us to reproduce it here. The figure is in red scale armour, bearing a shield with a red cross.

 

 

DESIGN BY E. A. ABBEY (FOR A BOOK PUBLISHED IN NEW YORK BY MESSRS. R. H. RUSSELL, AND IN ENGLAND BY THE FINE ART SOCIETY.


DESIGN BY KENYON COX.

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