Ideas, Trends, and Thoughts

The Art of Life Magazine: a History, Pt. 2 (1914-1936)

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The Art of Life Magazine: a History, Pt. 2 (1914-1936)

The year 1914 found the world in a very tenuous and tense situation. On June 28 of that year, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Herzegovina, leading to a chain of events that culminated in a declaration of war. On August 4, war was declared. As all this was going on, Charles Dana Gibson and John Ames Mitchell observed in horror. Mitchell had studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, whereas Gibson, who by this time rose to fame since his humble beginning in 1886, had also been in Paris for a while, where he...

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The Art of Life Magazine: a History, Pt. 1 (1883-1913)

Sebastian Certik Charles Dana Gibson Golden Age of Illustration illustrators James Montgomery Flagg LeRoy Robert Ripley Life Magazine R M Crosby

The Art of Life Magazine: a History, Pt. 1 (1883-1913)

In 1883, Harvard graduates John Ames Mitchell, Andrew Miller, and Edward S. Martin, set out to create their answer to the already-established Puck, Judge, and Punch magazines. Life was its name, and its premise was a simple one: “We shall endeavor to be neither too sweet to live," ran the mission statement on its first issue, "nor too good to be true.” It was “fun” for “an unfriendly world”. Its masthead (pictured below), which remained a part of the magazine for decades, drives that point home further by declaring "While there is Life, there's Hope." While they were still students,...

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Video Review: James Montgomery Flagg's Art Restitution

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Video Review: James Montgomery Flagg's Art Restitution

With so much turmoil going on in the news nowadays, it can be rare to find a positive and uplifting news story. Rarer still is the chance that one will see such a story about a great American illustrator from the Golden Age. I realize that this video is over a year old, but I wanted to show it to you anyway, because I find the story itself to be very fascinating in so many ways. I also really enjoyed learning something new about Flagg that I didn't know before. Feel free to watch, but more importantly..... Happy Birthday, James...

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Open Fan Mail: James Montgomery Flagg

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Open Fan Mail: James Montgomery Flagg

This is the second of a series of blog posts consisting of fan letters to Golden Age illustrators. All of these illustrators are now deceased, so these obviously won't be mailed out to anyone, nor will I receive any responses. The only purpose of these letters is to convey, and hopefully inspire, appreciation for these legendary artists. The next letter is addressed to James Montgomery Flagg. Dear Mr. Flagg, When I discovered your work through G. Montague Ellwood's The Art and Technique of Pen Drawing, what I saw was very interesting to me. With the possible exception of Gibson, I...

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Open Fan Mail: Charles Dana Gibson

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Open Fan Mail: Charles Dana Gibson

This is the first of a series of blog posts consisting of fan letters to Golden Age illustrators. All of these illustrators are now deceased, so these obviously won't be mailed out to anyone, nor will I receive any responses. The only purpose of these letters is to convey, and hopefully inspire, appreciation for these legendary artists. The first of these letters is addressed to Charles Dana Gibson. --- Dear Mr. Gibson, To begin with, I hope to convey my deep connection to your work, and I say "hope" out of a sense of realism. Not having experienced it yourself,...

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