Auteur: S. E. Meyer
he Golden Age of illustration was a time when the best in popular writing combined with the best in popular art to shape much of the American character as we know it today. At the end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth, books and periodicals provided the major source of public entertainment. The contributors appearing in their pages assumed an importance of unprecedented proportions; no American of the period could remain unaffected by the millions of pictures circulated each week. The ten American illustrators represented here played a crucial role in governing the cultural appetites of the day, and these ten in particular have endured as America's favorites: Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, Frederic Remington, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, J. C. Leyendecker, Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, and John Held Jr. Each is represented fully in this lavishly illustrated volume. Howard Pyle—regarded as the Father of American Illustration—inspired an entire generation of illustrators through his own work and through his teaching. From his school came N. C. Wyeth, whose illustrations of historical novels, children's classics, and epic tales of adventure and valor are still widely circulated today. Frederic Remington's paintings of the West document America's expanding frontier, a dramatic record of a time long past. Maxfield Parrish—best known for his widely reproduced Daybreak and Garden of Allah—has once again become an artist in fashion, his distinctive illustrations frequently seen in current books and periodicals. Of all the artists here, however, none has enjoyed greater popularity or has influenced more illustrators than Norman Rockwell; his good-natured men, women, and children have been welcomed by Americans for more than sixty years. The influence of J. C. Leyendecker is also everywhere present in contemporary illustration, his Arrow Collar Man having established a unique image of the American male. The ideal American female was best depicted by Charles Dana Gibson, whose renowned Gibson Girl set the fashions for an entire generation of American women at the turn of the century. In the following generation, Howard Chandler Christy ushered in another version of the ideal American female. When his "Christy Girl" exclaimed, "Gee I Wish I Were a Man" on a war poster, thousands of young men enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War I. At the same time, James Montgomery Flagg's Uncle Sam summoned hoards of men to enlist in the Army, "I Want You" becoming the most famous American military poster of all time. John Held Jr. closed the generation with a new type of American male and female ideal: enter the flapper and her Joe College date. These ten artists, whose work is so lovingly reproduced here, depicted the many faces of our nation, their popular images forming a composite portrait of America. A chronology, selected bibliography, and index round out the volume.