Artistic Whodunits, Illustration, Illustrator Artistic Whodunits, Illustration, Illustrator

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Help! Artistic Whodunits.

Love a good mystery? Me, too. Usually. Unless I'm trying to figure out who an illustrator is for an ad, story, cover, etc. This page is dedicated to figuring out the great "un-signed."

Why unsigned?
Some artists felt that ad work was beneath them. But Coles Phillips began to change this. He was proud of whatever art he produced and the advertisers were proud to have him. Today, we call this "synergy." For those who wanted Phillips' artwork, it was just common sense. His watercolors of beautiful women moved merchandise. Most other illustrators followed Phillips' lead. Haddon Sundblom signed some ads, but for his own reasons never signed the lush ads for Cashmere Bouquet.

But signing one's artwork and having that signature making it into print is another thing. Artwork was often cropped, sometimes a lot, to make an illustration fit new or "improved" ad specs. If the signature got the crop, who cared? It was an ad, for cryin' out loud, not Da Vinci. Sometimes an advertiser would tout that a beautiful print could be purchased directly, though who painted the art for said print, they forgot to mention.

Finally, a signature, even left in its place and escaping the x-acto, wasn't necessarily readable after all the steps it went through to make it to the readers' hands. Sometimes the registration was so off, the ink overruns so thick, or the illustration so reduced (and often all three), that the signature lives on only as a squiggly smear.

What are we up against?
First, there's the artist who seems to have never signed his work. There are dozens of beautiful Union Carbide ads featuring strong hands. Someone knows who that artist is. I need to hear from you. And if they don't sign, it's hard to guess. Am I looking at an Elvgren or a Loomis or a Harris, or a Buell? Sometimes artists expect you to know them by just one name. That's fine if it's "PAUS," but what if they only sign it "Johnson." There are at least 100 artists who are listed and have the last name of "Johnson." Thanks. Some brush jockeys don't so much sign as leave a mark (Edward Penfield and J C Leyendecker come to mind) or leave but a few initials. Yes, "AS" is Arthur Sarnoff, but "CP" isn't necessarily Coles Phillips; more likely Clara Elsene Peck. And what about the wise guy who just leaves a single letter, like "F" (I'm on to you Robert Fawcett).

So, of all the AAA pages, these will prove the most challenging, but the most rewarding. It is here you will find illustrations that have one thing in common: I have no idea who did them. I need your help. If you know who did any of these pieces, let me know, and we'll consider the mystery solved. Even if you only have a hunch, I'll mention it as it may get us closer to the truth. And of course, your name will appear in CYBER LIGHTS!

One more thing -- throughout the site, there are bits of information missing, like I'll post an image, I know who it's by, but I don't know where it was published or in what year. You'd be a big help there, as well!

The Whodunits

The Solved Whodunits

Know Who Did It, But What For?

Frederic Dorr Steele, Collier's,
The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter 26 Nov 1904
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

John 1:1-5

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