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State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle

February 9 - June 1, 2013


The Delaware Art Museum is presenting State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle. On view February 9, 2013 - June 1, 2013, this exciting exhibition features over 60 works of art from eight of the most important artists working in contemporary illustration.

In 2011, the Museum launched its Centennial celebration with a major retrospective dedicated to illustrator Howard Pyle. State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle marks the celebration's end and reflects on Pyle's legacy in the field of illustration.

In the century following Pyle's death in 1911, American illustration has diversified into a creative empire that includes a wide range of art forms. From animated films and computer-generated images to graphic novels and conceptual art, America's storytelling artists use the latest technologies and a variety of media to communicate with ever-increasing audiences.

Guest Curator David Apatoff, illustration scholar and author of biographies on Robert Fawcett and Albert Dorne, highlights the following eight artists: story illustrator Bernie Fuchs; graphic designer Milton Glaser; MAD caricaturist and comic artist Mort Drucker; The New Yorker cover artist and character designer for animated films, Peter de Sève; editorial artist John Cuneo; painter and book artist Phil Hale; painter and magazine illustrator Sterling Hundley; and Pixar production designer Ralph Eggleston.

"No single exhibition could possibly do justice to the noisy, rambunctious history of illustration over the past century," explains Apatoff. "I've chosen instead to feature eight individuals whose diverse talents demonstrate that illustration is no longer the singular profession it was in Pyle's day. It pervades our culture, reaching out to us from billboards, television, store windows, and computer screens."


About the Artists

Bernie Fuchs began his career creating highly realistic paintings for automobile advertisements. By the 1960s, he was at the forefront of a wave of innovative illustrators whose impressionistic works redefined the field. Before his death in 2009, Fuchs enjoyed a long and distinguished career and became well-known around the world for his sense of color and design.

Milton Glaser is among the world's most celebrated graphic and architectural designers, recognized for the diverse richness of his inventive work. His achievements range from the iconic "I © New York" logo to complete graphic and decorative programs for public spaces. He has been the subject of one-man shows at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Mort Drucker is one of MAD's most famous artists. An influential caricaturist, he is internationally renowned for his pen and ink work and his TIME covers are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Phil Hale pushes the boundaries between fine art and illustration, consistently making powerful compositions and combining traditional realism with moody, complex, and evocative themes. Although highly regarded for his covers for books by Joseph Conrad and Steven King, Hale is recognized internationally for his work in the field of fine art.

Sterling Hundley seamlessly combines traditional artistic media with digital tools. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vibe, and The New York Times. Hundley has won gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and the Illustrators Club in Washington, D.C. An influential teacher and mentor, he is an instructor at The Illustration Academy and a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University.

John Cuneo's powerful drawings have appeared in many major publications, including The New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and The Atlantic. He is highly regarded for the humor in his work and has been awarded several medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York.

Peter De Sève began as an editorial illustrator in the 1980s and is well known for his covers for The New Yorker, along with his illustrations for TIME and Newsweek. He has also created character designs for animated films produced by Disney, DreamWorks Studios, Pixar, and Twentieth Century Fox, including Mulan, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and Ice Age.

Ralph Eggleston was the Art Director at Pixar for Toy Story, the first full-length computer-animated film, as well as for The Incredibles. He was also the Production Designer for films such as Finding Nemo and WALL·E. His work has been recognized for its color and composition, as well as its sense of fantasy.


About the Curator

David Apatoff began his career as a professional cartoonist and illustrator. He has illustrated children's books and worked in a commercial art studio. He is the author of Robert Fawcett, The Illustrator's Illustrator and Albert Dorne, Master Illustrator as well as the popular blog, Illustration Art (illustrationart.blogspot.com). He has also written extensively for Illustration Magazine and other publications. Apatoff practices technology law for a multinational law firm based in Washington, D.C.


Wall texts for the exhibition


Well, boys, this is a great venture. I wonder what will be the outcome.
- Howard Pyle, at the opening of his teaching studio in Wilmington, 1900
The art of illustration has changed so dramatically over the past century that it might hardly be recognized by Howard Pyle and his generation. While pictures still appear in books and magazines, images that were once motionless on a page now move in animated films. Illustrators may use traditional painting and drawing skills or take advantage of the latest technologies and the newest media. Rather than visualizing a passage of text, some artists tell a story through graphic symbols and visual metaphors. The illustrator may work alone or as part of a collaborative team. Styles range across the spectrum from realistic to abstract.
No matter how much the art of illustration has changed there remains a core set of strengths that can be traced back to Pyle, and even earlier. This exhibition focuses on those fundamental strengths and consistent qualities of creative excellence that thrive even after a century of change. The eight artists -- who present a sampling of the state of the art today -- have distinguished themselves in various areas of illustration by creating work of enduring aesthetic value, in a diversity of ways that Pyle would recognize and embrace.
- David Apatoff, Guest Curator
List of artists' names
Bernie Fuchs
Milton Glaser
Mort Drucker
Phil Hale
Sterling Hundley
John Cuneo
Peter de Sève
Ralph Eggleston
Bernie Fuchs (1932-2009) Advertising and Magazine Illustration
After his education at the School of Fine Art of Washington University in St. Louis, Bernie Fuchs began his career as an advertising artist for the automobile industry. By the mid-1960s, just at the time when magazine publishers were turning increasingly to photographs as illustration, Fuchs was among the artistic innovators who countered this trend by developing a new style.
In a departure from the Norman Rockwell-type realism of magazine illustration prevalent in the early 1960s, Fuchs combined an impressionistic approach with elements of the abstract expressionist movement that dominated fine art at the time. He often favored unexpected angles rather than a straightforward view, fields of color instead of linear detail, and atmospheric lighting. His success was immediate and sparked a generation of followers. In the late 1980s, when general-interest magazines had declined in popularity and illustration styles changed, Fuchs turned more to portraiture, children's book illustration, and the development of his personal work.
Getting the idea, that's the hard part. My aim is not merely to decorate the page but to make illustrations that willheighten the meaning, drama, and emotion of the words. You should get personally involved with the picture. - Bernie Fuchs
Milton Glaser (born 1929) Conceptual Design
In the 1950s, a new type of illustrator was emerging. Rather than visualizing written texts, these artists employed abstract graphic symbols and visual metaphors, broadening the definition and role of illustration. Graphic designer Milton Glaser, now most famous for his I _ New York logo, was -- and remains -- an influential leader of this movement.
Glaser studied at the Cooper Union in New York and the Academy of Fine Art in Bologna. As a young artist, he particularly admired Picasso's ability to work in both abstract and realistic styles, a talent he would develop in his own career. Glaser rejected the streamlined type of graphic design common in the early 1950s. Following his dictum that "it's absurd to be loyal to a style," he adapts techniques, imagery and typography from an eclectic spectrum, ranging from mediaeval woodcuts to Surrealism to psychedelic art. His body of award-winning work includes book illustration, posters, advertisements, and complete graphic and decorative designs for public spaces.
One of the things that may make my work distinctive is that I see no difference between drawing and designing. To some degree, designers think I'm an illustrator and illustrators think I'm a designer - Milton Glaser
Mort Drucker (born 1929) Sequential Art
The term sequential art was coined in the mid-1980s to describe art forms that combine text and pictures to tell an entertaining or informative story. Mort Drucker's movie satires for MAD are an acclaimed example of the genre. These caricatures became a MAD centerpiece a few years after his arrival at the magazine in 1957. In often multi-part panels, Drucker combines a writer's humorous dialogue with his caricatures, linking parodies of speech and comically exaggerated characters. He is particularly deft at illustrating densely-packed crowds where each character -- even anonymous figures and sometimes animals -- plays a distinct role in the narrative. He calls upon a wide range of vantage points, interactions, and facial expressions to contribute to the story.
A self-taught artist, Drucker entered the field by drawing backgrounds for comic books and strips. His half-century career as a caricaturist and comic artist broadened to include television animation, movie posters, album covers, and children's books. In the 1970s, TIME commissioned him to illustrate several covers featuring celebrities and political figures.
I become the "camera" and look for angles, lighting, close-ups, wide angles, long shots_just as a director does to tell the story in the most visually interesting way he can. - Mort Drucker
Phil Hale (born 1963) Illustration and Painting
Phil Hale moves freely between illustration for publication and painting for exhibitions and commissions. He studied with painter Rick Berry, known for his depictions of science fiction and fantasy. Until the late 1990s, Hale had an active career drawing for Marvel Comics, creating book covers for authors such as Stephen King, and illustrating for magazines. While still occasionally accepting illustration projects, he is now dedicated primarily to painting.
In works with sometimes enigmatic titles, Hale often presents an isolated male figure, suspended and contorted against blue sky, confronting a mechanical beast. He combines his subjects' realistic anatomy with violent action and stark backgrounds, suggesting the theme of a lone outsider in conflict or in protest. Hale brings a similar mood to paintings of truncated or partially-visible figures in physical struggles. His covers for books by Joseph Conrad capture the haunting mood of the novels. Hale has said that both his illustrations and his paintings are grounded in the storytelling impulse.
My unhappiness with (my) illustration work pushed me into portraiture and then fine art. But as I progressed, an unexpected element that is normally associated with illustration turned out to be at the center of the newer work: narrative. In a way I stayed true to my original and unselfconscious love of illustration. - Phil Hale
Sterling Hundley (born 1976) Narrative and Coneptual Illustration
Sterling Hundley's first illustrations were published while he was still an art student at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is now a professor in the Department of Communication Arts. He also teaches at the Illustration Academy, a course of study held every summer at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. His work has appeared regularly in many general-interest and specialty magazines. He has also produced designs for a wide range of clients, including theater companies, publishing houses, The Recording Academy's GRAMMY Awards, and Major League Baseball.
Hundley's magazine illustrations sometimes combine two storylines in one image, in a sort of visual pun that offers viewers an interactive experience in deciphering text and picture. His theatrical poster designs are equally multi-layered, hinting at characters' emotions and plots. He frequently mixes fantastical elements with realistic ones. Recently Hundley has moved more toward painting, viewing it as a more-open ended art form than text-based illustration.
A career in the world of art is an immense undertaking that requires an individual to find a balance between who they are and what they want: art and commerce. - Sterling Hundley
John Cuneo (born 1957) Pen-and-Ink Editorial Illustration
John Cuneo began his career fielding a wide variety of illustration projects, including greeting cards and storyboards for advertisements. With minimal art training, he credits his observation of fellow artists' work with helping to hone his skills. He gradually developed his own style in the field of editorial illustration, distinguished by lively linework and watercolor washes. Cuneo contributes his humorous and provocative drawings to The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones, among many others. He frequently sketches for his own enjoyment rather than for commissioned projects.
Historically, editorial illustration is associated with cartoons and caricatures centering on current political events and personalities, especially in newspapers and magazines. Besides aiming at timely social issues, Cuneo's acerbic viewpoint also encompasses the often disturbing corners of private behavior. His creative distortions of line and form, exaggerated features and proportions, along with his verbal wit, result in commentaries ranging from biting to playful, and sometimes self-mocking.
It's hardly a straight line from Howard Pyle to here, but I like to think even the Great Man himself would concede that straight lines are overrated. - John Cuneo
Peter de Sève (born 1958) Character Design
Peter de Sève received his BFA in Graphic Design at Parsons School of Design in New York where he studied 19th and 20th century American and European illustration -- a visual education that continues to influence his style.
De Sève balances his work as a character designer for animated films with illustration such as covers for The New Yorker. He regards character design as an extension of his illustration, dependent on the same close observation of people and personalities. While his magazine covers convey an idea with immediacy, his characters communicate their individuality throughout film-length -- and in the case of Ice Age, serialized -- stories. The diversity of shapes, silhouettes, and facial expressions of de Sève's characters are the visual foundation of a film, all designed with the goal of seeing them come alive through animation. He follows his drawings through sculpting, computer modeling, and the development of color and lighting to their appearance on the screen, acting as a creative collaborator as well as an artist.
I'm an old-fashioned illustrator... I love strong, firm craftsmanship...The funny thing is that for all the studios' technical expertise, I'm still the guy who's drawing on paper. - Peter de Sève
Ralph Eggleston (born 1965) Animation
Ralph Eggleston's attraction to the art of animation began in childhood when he admired Walt Disney's Cinderella and Warner Brothers cartoons. After completing his degree in character animation at the California Institute of the Arts, he worked on various television and movie projects, as character designer, animator and art director. He joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1995 as the Art Director for Toy Story, the first entirely computer-animated film. Eggleston was the Production Designer for Pixar's Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL·E (2008).
Eggleston describes production design as creative oversight of the unified look and mood of the story, and of the color, lighting, and special effects that make believable characters come alive. He employs drawing and painting media as well as digital programs such as Photoshop. As animated films require large-scale collaboration, Eggleston worked with teams of artists, computer scientists, and engineers to bring imaginary worlds the undersea life of Finding Nemo and the extraterrestrial spaces of WALL·E to the screen.
The singular focus on storytelling and character are what I prefer to emphasize. Pretty pictures are nice. But a good idea -- clearly communicated to an audience -- is my focus. - Ralph Eggleston

(above: Mort Drucker (B. 1929), Put*on, for MAD, January 1971, Ink on illustration board, 25 1/2 x 20 inches. Private Collection, © Mort Drucker)


(above: Sterling Hundley (B. 1976), Shipwreck, 2007, Acrylic, ink, gouache, and collage on board, 16 1/4 x 14 inches. Collection of the artist)


(above: Peter de Sève (B. 1958), Tailed, cover for The New Yorker, January 24, 1994, Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper, 14 3/4 x 11 inches. Collection of the artist)

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