Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Leonard Weisgard (1916-2000)

"There are times in illustrating when the artist of today must rub his nose against the reality of things and try to catch with the honesty of a child a yellow sun like a pat of butter in the sky, with clouds of cottage cheese and the smoke of boats flying in all directions, with no concern for north or east. Houses with windows gaping and people like raisins on the street, a fire engine tearing off the page and a policeman stopping everything."

Leonard Weisgard,
Caldecott Acceptance Speech - July 2, 1947

Pelican Here, Pelican There, 1948

Pelican Here, Pelican There, 1948

The Summer Noisy Book, 1951

The Book of Nursery Tales, 1954

Just Like Me, 1954

The Little Eskimo, 1952

--click on images for larger view

The modern stylized look of mid-20th century illustration is something that's been a keen interest of mine and has had a major influence on my art in the last couple of years. As a result, I've become a voracious ebayer, scouring their auctions for the choicest relics of this period and I've acquired a modestly respectable collection of vintage children's books.

Leonard Weisgard was one of the illustrators to emerge as a practitioner of this modern look early on in children's books. His career spanned over five decades and he illustrated over 200 books, including The Noisy Book, 1939, The Golden Egg Book, 1947, and the Caldecott Medal winner The Little Island, 1946.

To learn more about Leonard Weisgard and see more great samples of his art visit, this website created by his children as a tribute to his work. More samples of his work can also be found here and at my flickr page.


Blogger leifpeng said...

How cool is this!?! Kudos to you, Eric for this foray into documenting a fantastic artist for the benefit of us all. My hat's off to you, buddy.

11/30/2005 9:19 AM  
Blogger test said...

Hi Eric! Great idea for a blog. I am so interested in seeing all the future illustrators you hunt down information on.

I am so glad that Leonard’s family has put together that website. It’s very tastefully designed and shows his work off to perfection. So many, too many of the illustrators from this period have fallen off the map. It’s heartwarming to see his family and yourself take such great care in resurrecting a beautiful body of work.


11/30/2005 9:42 AM  
Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

Excellent post, Eric! I have The Little Eskimo, and I find it very charming. Leonard's work is joyful and very entertaining. And thanks for the nod to The Retro Kid. We've got a great collection, all thanks to you, my friend!

11/30/2005 10:26 AM  
Blogger Eric Sturdevant said...

Thanks for the comments guys! I've totally been bitten by the bloggin' bug.

11/30/2005 10:20 PM  
Blogger valerie walsh said...

I enjoyed reading this and wondered if you like Feodor Rojankovsky too? similar but different, both incredible talents. Your work is just great!

12/01/2005 3:50 AM  
Blogger Eric Sturdevant said...

I am a little familiar with Feodor Rojankovsky, valgalart. Some of what I've seen of his stuff on the internet is beautiful. But you're right, a little different, more of a classical style.

12/01/2005 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello eric! your blog is interesting and amazing! Thank you very much for sharing your posts with us! Anyway i really like your awesome style! Keep it up!

12/21/2005 11:04 AM  
Blogger WEISSMAN said...

This stuff is amazing! I must track some down for my own collection. Thank you!

12/28/2005 10:49 PM  

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