Airbrush 1937 - 1946

These illustrations date back to the dawn of the contemporary airbrush. Most are accented with ink, gouache and pencil for highlights and details. The artist learned of the new media and mastered it in 1937, used it almost exclusively for nearly ten years, then essentially had to abandoned it with his promotion to Chief Designer of Cadillac at the end of WW II. Original illustration sizes vary, but are mostly between 28" x 22" and 36" x 24." Many were executed in the living room of his one bedroom apartment in the shadow of the old General Motors Building in Detroit. The subjects are two of his favorites – planes and automobiles, with two architectural illustrations added to the group.

There are a few historical notes and design features to underscore. First, and most obvious, are the many design details seen on the airplanes and replicated on the automobiles. "Two of a Kind"  illustrates the point. Relating automobile and aircraft design was a constant challenge. The "US 194X" illustration (the artist was Chief Designer of Cadillac at the time) is another example.  It's a Cadillac Concept car dated 1945 – 46, with a one-piece, wrap-around windshield, several design features from the airplane, and a tail fin very similar to the one that made it onto the 1948 Cadillac. By the way, that's a stylized view of the artist behind the wheel.

The Art Deco "Pyramid"  illustration is dated 1938. It’s a fantasy of an Engineering and Technical Research Center for General Motors on the Detroit River. Now, only seventy years later, a new, very glitzy Las Vegas casino looks remarkably like the illustration. Isn’t that an extraordinary tribute to the artist’s view of his future?

 

 
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