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Lifestyle Illustration of the 60s

How amazing to come across a book that I could never imagine would be published but here it is. Over a thousand illustrations from American and British artists used to illustrate romantic fiction in women’s weekly and monthly magazines. They all come from British titles of the sixties and you might think, that inherently, the visual format is rather restrictive and it’s true that much of the art is similar but these artist’s compositions and paint techniques are varied enough to provide interest page after page. Having worked in magazine publishing back then I was familiar with many of these wonderful illustrators. I was a big fan of Bernie Fuchs and David Roach mentions in his intro that Al Parker was a great influence in the forties and fifties (especially with his mother and daughter paintings for the covers of the Ladies’ Home Journal) and Fuchs was a similar inspiration for many illustrators in the sixties, he gets ten works in the book with a stunning spread on pages 326-327. I estimate the book has the work of over two hundred illustrators, and plenty from unnamed artists. Lynn Buckham has the most then good showings for Joe Bowler, Joe DeMers, Eric Earnshaw, Frank Haseler, Michael Johnson, Brian Sanders, Herb Tauss, Andy Virgil, Coby Whitmore and Walter Wyles. Oddly the great Austin Briggs only gets one. There are several illustrations from teenage weeklies that I would have left out. They are uncredited fashion and spot illustrations of no particular merit especially when compared to the artists whose work fill up most of these pages. The book’s production is excellent and very similar to the Taschen thick, chunky soft cover titles (in fact Taschen published the Fiell’s Decorative Art series). The back pages have an artist index and twenty-four get short biogs. My only criticism is that a light drop shadow on two sides of all the oblong illustrations would have given them a lift on the page. There is a companion book with the same art from the fifties and together with this sixties book a whole collection of wonderful artists can be rediscovered. ***LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking ‘customer images’ under the cover.

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