The Art of Edgar Keller

book illustrations book illustrators Edgar Keller Golden Age Illustration Golden Age Illustrators Golden Age of Illustration ragtime sheet music art sheet music covers

Note: This entry first appeared on our pre-launch blog on November 29, 2018.

Another image we posted on social media was very well received, and although it was not as smashingly popular as the Billinghurst "Heron" illustration we discussed in our previous blog post, it did give us a pretty interesting idea. We're going to post a very brief biographical sketch, plus a hand-picked gallery of some of the artist's finest work, every time a new social media post gets a lot of attention. This way, we can ac-cen-choo-ate the positive, (as Ella Fitzgerald once famously said.)

The first of these posts, (or the second, if you count the earlier post about Percy J. Billinghurst,) is about Edgar Keller, whose illustration for the cover of a song sheet called "Winter" was posted on our Facebook recently, earning 203 engagements, 21 shares, and 11 reactions, (7 likes, 3 loves, and 1 wow.)

But now about the artist himself: Edgar Keller was born in Crescent, CA, in 1867, the fifth of six children, to Henry Keller and Mary M. Kenny. He moved to New York in the late 1890s, were he became an artist. He published some of his earliest work around 1899-1900, and by 1910, he had become quite successful with his illustration work, most of which was published by M.Witmark & Sons.
He became a theatrical and artistic advisor for the Bison Film Co. in 1912, which effectively ended his career as an illustrator of sheet music, except for a few rare exceptions in the late 1910s.

Besides sheet music, Keller illustrated other kinds of publications, most notably children's books, including Yama Yama Land (1909) and Daddy Long Legs; Fun Songs (1900).

He died in Hollywood in 1932.


And now for a few of his best images:

Cupid is the Captain of the Army sheet music cover (1905)

The Goose Step is the Thing in Germany sheet music cover (1901)

Honeymoon Hall (From The Pearl and the Pumpkin) sheet music cover (1904)

There is a product in our store that is stylistically similar to the image above. Check it out here.

Billy (I Always Dream of Bill) sheet music cover (1911)

There is a product in our store that is stylistically similar to the image above. Check it out here.

Illustration for Yama Yama Land, by Grace Duffie Boylan (1909)

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