Much of the artwork in magazine advertisements of the period were produced by commercial artists whose work was unsigned and therefore remain unknown.
However, some the drawings and paintings in the advertisement were drawn by commercial artists and editorial cartoonists did sign their work. A few of those artists and their work are highlighted below.
Ernest Hamlin Baker (1889-1975) was a self-taught illustrator. He began his career at age 17 as an editorial cartoonist for The Evening Star, a Poughkeepsie, New York newspaper. In a 17-year tenure with Time Magazine, he illustrated more than 300 of the magazine's covers, including many for "Man of the Year" issues. He also produced 11 covers for Fortune Magazine and participated in several Works Progress Administration projects during the Great Depression. Colgate University has an extensive collection of his work.
For more information on Baker, see:
James Bingham (1917-1971) provided illustrations for many publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Argosy, Esquire, and Good Housekeeping. He was also the artist for a variety of advertising accounts, including the Airlines of the United States and the Association of Railroads (industry groups keeping alive the idea of these travel modes during the war), Maxwell House, Cannon Towels, Gulf Oil, Caterpillar Tractor, U. S. Steel, and Champion Spark Plugs.
For other discussions and examples of his work, see:
Dean Cornwell (1892 - 1960) was an illustrator and a muralist. His oil paintings were frequently featured in popular magazines and books as literary illustrations, advertisements, and posters promoting the war effort. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Cornwell was a dominant presence in American illustration. At the peak of his popularity, he was nicknamed the "Dean of Illustrators."
During his career, Cornwell also created illustrations for authors including Pearl S. Buck, Lloyd Douglas, Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, W. Somerset Maugham, and Owen Wister. As well as, producing advertising illustrations for hundreds of companies including GM, Eastern Airlines, Pennsylvania Railroad, Paul Jones Whiskey, Aunt Jemima, Seagram’s Gin, Woodbury Soap, Palmolive, Coca-Cola, Goodyear, New York Life, and Squibb.
These ads are part of a series he did for Fisher Body, a division of General Motors aimed at, demonstrating in the artwork as well as in the text, the company's expertise in producing the precision instruments used in America's combat aircraft.
For more information on Cornwall, see:
Stevan Dohanos (1907–1994) was an artist, illustrator and a founder of the Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut. He was perhaps best known for his work at the Saturday Evening Post, for which he created over 125 covers. Considered an "American realist", his work was often compared to that of Norman Rockwell. His art often contained images and individuals from Westport, Connecticut, where he spent much of his adult life.
In the 1960s he became chairman of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, which selected art to appear on United States postage stamps and designed over 40 postage stamp covers. In 1984, the Postal Service's Hall of Stamps in Washington was dedicated in his honor.
His easel paintings and prints have been displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Dartmouth College.
For more information on Dohanos, see:
John Philip Falter (1910-1982) was best known for his many cover paintings for The Saturday Evening Post.
Falter's major break was a commission from Liberty Magazine, however, he soon discovered that advertising was much more lucrative than any other field of illustrations. By 1938, he had acquired several advertising clients, including Gulf Oil, Four Roses Whiskey, Arrow Shirts, and Pall Mall cigarettes, and his work was appearing in major national magazines.
In 1943, he enlisted in the Navy, where he designed over 300 recruiting posters. One popular Falter poster, of the loose-lips-sink-ships theme, showed a broad-shouldered Navy man with the caption, "If you tell where he's going, he may never get there."Falter's first Saturday Evening Post cover, a portrait of the magazine's founder, Benjamin Franklin, appeared on the January 16, 1943 issue. He went on to produce over 120 covers for the Post over the following 25 years.
Hugh Hutton (1897-1976) was an editorial cartoonist who worked at the Philadelphia Enquirer for over 30 years. After attending the University of Minnesota for two years, he enlisted in the armed forces and served in WWI. He learned his craft through a correspondence school, the Minneapolis School of Art, and the Art Student's League. Hutton worked at the New York World from 1930 to 1932 and with United Features Syndicate in 1932 and 1933 drawing illustrations and comic strips. He became the Philadelphia Enquirer's editorial cartoonist in 1934. He was a member of the National Cartoonists Society, the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, the National Press Club, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. His papers are at Syracuse University. This cartoon was one of a series of advertisements published by the Philco Corporation to encourage support of the war effort.
For more information on Hutton, see:
Herbert Johnson (1878-1946) was a nationally known political cartoonist and a long time artist for the Saturday Evening Post. Known for his conservative political views, he was a fierce critic of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal in the 1930's.
Fred Ludekens (1900–1982) was an artist and illustrator. Although he had no formal training in art, he found work as a billboard painter before joining the advertising agency of Lord & Thomas in 1931. He worked from the company's New York City office from 1939-1945, after which he returned to San Francisco, and remained there until his death. Ludekens worked in a variety of media, often depicting rural scenes such as fruit ranches, coastal scenes, and the Indians of the Southwest.
He produced story, article, and cover illustrations for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The Country Gentleman, Fortune, and True. During the 1950s he produced a series of paintings to be used in advertisements for the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. These paintings were of wildlife scenes as well as some depicting famous foresters such as Aldo Leopold and William B. Greeley. Ludekens also illustrated many books over the course of his life and was a member of the founding faculty of the Famous Artists School.
These advertisements were part of a series that Ludekens produced for Nash which was intended serve as an emotional appeal to the American public on the theme of "Why We Fight".
For more information on Ludekens, see:
Carl Rose (1903 – 1971) was an American cartoonist whose work appeared in The New Yorker, Popular Science, The Saturday Evening Post, and many other publications. He received the National Cartoonist's Society Advertising and Illustration Award for 1958.
"Rose created the famous spinach cartoon with E.B. White, Rose drew the cartoon and White wrote the caption, which ran in the New Yorker. Rose and White's cartoon, was published December 8, 1928. In the cartoon, a mother at dinner says to her young daughter, "It's broccoli, dear." Her daughter answers, "I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it." The phrase "I say it's spinach" quickly entered the vernacular as an idiom to mean nonsense or rubbish. In 1932, Irving Berlin's popular Broadway revue Face The Music included the song "I say it's spinach (and the hell with it!)" and Elizabeth Hawes adopted it for her critique of the clothing design industry titling her book Fashion is Spinach (1938), though the phrase fell out of use by the 21st century." (1)
This cartoon was another in Philco Corporation's series of advertisements in support of the war effort.
Rose illustrated Bennet Cerf's best-selling book Try and Stop Me and its sequel Shake Well Before Using. Rose also illustrated Have Tux, Will Travel, the supposed autobiography of actor Bob Hope (actually ghost-written by journalist Pete Martin).
(1) Revolvy, LLC. ""Carl Rose (cartoonist)" on Revolvy.com." All Revolvy Quizzes. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
For more information on Rose, see:
Alex Ross (1909-1990) was a prominent story and cover artist from the 1940's through the 1960's. His magazine cover art included: Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies' Home Journal. Ross also produced 130 covers for Good Housekeeping magazine over a period of twelve years. Mostly self-taught, his talent for depicting adorable children and beautiful women made him in demand for advertising work. Ross was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree by Boston College in 1953.
James Milton Sessions (1882-1962) was a watercolorist whose subject matter focused on marine, sporting, and military scenes. He also worked as a commercial artist.
Not only do his works document important World War II historical events, but they visually portray, and convey the spirit of the American fighting forces in both the Pacific and European campaign. The Chicago Tribune newspaper utilized his talents and Sessions is considered to be the greatest "brush reporter" of World War II. His works can be found in Presidential collections, numerous important corporate collections, and military establishments throughout the country.
Sessions created numerous wartime advertisements. The work shown here is one of a series of 60 pieces on Jeeps in action he did for the Willys-Overland Company. His work is highly prized by collectors of WWII art.
Charles Henry 'Bill' Sykes (1882-1942) was an editorial cartoonist whose work appeared in a number of periodicals including newspapers in Philadelphia. A graduate of Philadelphia's Drexel Institute, he did freelance artwork before working for the North American, Williamsport News, and Nashville Banner. In 1914, he became the editorial cartoonist for the Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia), until it ceased publication in 1942. From 1922 to 1928, he was also the regular editorial cartoonist for Life magazine. His work also appeared in Collier's magazine and in the New York Evening Post.
A digital collection of his work is at the Virginia Commonwealth University website.
Frederic Tellander (1878-1977) was an important Chicago artist who painted in Paris between the wars and is best known for his triumphant views of both Paris and Chicago. Tellander also worked as a commercial artist and did many notable ads for Studebaker, especially those created during WWII for the "Flying Fortress" B-17 bomber. He exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago 93 times between 1910-1941, winning numerous prizes. His work can be found in the collections of the Union League Club of Chicago and the Illinois State Museum.
Two of his Studebaker advertisements are included here.
Harold von Schmidt (1893 – 1982) was an American illustrator who specialized in magazine interior illustrations.
Von Schmidt began his art studies at the California School of Arts and Crafts while he was still in high school. In 1924, he entered the Grand Central School of Arts in New York City. He moved to the suburban community of New Rochelle which was a well-known artist colony and home to many of the top commercial illustrators of the day such as Frank and J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell. Also in residence were Al Parker, Mead Schaeffer, and Dean Cornwell, who, along with Tom Lovell and N. C. Wyeth, would become leaders in the field.
During World War II, he became a war correspondent for the United States Air Force, flying on several bombing runs and spent some time in occupied Japan.
Harold von Schmidt's work appeared primarily in Collier's Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Liberty, The Saturday Evening post, and Sunset. In 1948, he was recruited by Albert Dorne to be one of the founding faculty for the Famous Artist School.
George Withers (1911-1959) - commercial artist and illustrator from Witicha, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas University with a B.A. in Art and attended the Art Students League in New York. His commercial career began in Philadelphia working with the advertising agency, N.W. Ayer & Company. He moved on to the work with several agencies in New York – McCann-Erickson, Young and Rubicam, Rahl & Co., Sutton and O’Brien. Withers illustrated stories for many artists including J.D. Salinger in The Saturday Evening Post, Robert Ruark in Colliers Magazine, and many others in Redbook Magazine, Field and Stream, Bluebook, Good Housekeeping, The New York Herald Tribune, Holiday Magazine, and Look Magazine. As a commercial artist, his work appeared in advertising campaigns for such companies as Arrow Shirts, Smith Corona, Chase & Sanborn, Campbell’s Soups, Ford Motor Company, and the Hartford Insurance Company. He also created artwork for the War Advertising Council. During World War II, he served in the United Kingdom and at European Theater of Operations headquarters in Paris under General Eisenhower. His papers are at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.