Sunday, May 16, 2021

Edgar Franklin Wittmack, 1894 — 1956, an illustrator and cover artist for many of the most popular magazines of the 1920s and 1930s

 His "retro-futuristic" style was used during the depression to artistically convert the ideas of inventive Americans into unique visual expressions of potential reality.

And I notice that most of the covers are showing things at a great angle

born in New York City. He graduated from high school in 1913 and spent the summer with a friend working as a farmhand on the E. C. Potter pig farm of Clearwater, Montana. He enjoyed it enough to return to the same farm for the next three summers in 1915, 1916, and 1917.

 Inducted into the Army from Missoula, Montana in 1917, he served briefly with the U.S. Army as a private in the 166th Depot Brigade and was stationed in France.

Back in New York by 1920, he took classes at the Art Students League, where he studied with painter/illustrator Frank Vincent DuMond.

By 1924 he had moved to 58 West 57th Street, where his monthly rent was $15. This building was near the Art Students League, so it had many artist studios. His neighbors included such notable artists as Abe Hirschfield (1903-2003), Alexandre Archipenko (1887-1964), and Franklin Booth (1874-1948). He introduced his sister Beatrice (aged 21) to Franklin Booth (age 50). They fell in love and married. Booth was renowned for his illustrations in nationwide magazines, such as Scribner's, Collier's, and Harper's. Booth was also one of the founders of the Phoenix Art Institute in NYC, where pulp artist Laurence Herndon taught and where pulp artist Walter Popp took art classes.

His illustrations were published in American Boy, Collier's Magazine, Everybody's Magazine, Liberty, Outdoor Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and Scientific American. He became the main cover artist for Popular Science.

He also painted covers for pulp magazines, such as Adventure, Clues, Complete Stories, Frontier Stories, Short Stories, The Popular, West, and Western Story.

1 comment:

  1. Wittmack was a damn good illustrator, something I could only dream of doing. regarding the retro futuristic style he did on the cover of Popular Science of the 30's, a lot of the things the magazine was totting about never came true. If they did, they didn't work very well. But it was sure fun for a young man back then to imagine the possibilities. Love the flying wing and the artic crawler thing. What is the in the back of that amphibious, a cannon?