With an artist's
eye, Art Wood acquired some of the best examples of illustrated
art produced during the last two centuries. He collected celebrated
European masters of graphic art from James Gillray to Heinrich Kley
as well as exceptional works from the Golden Age of American Illustration
(1880-1930). A truly seminal collection, it also includes numerous
examples of work by such great women illustrators as Katharine Pyle
and Nell Brinkley, talented pioneers in the genre and equal in artistic
genius to their male counterparts. Wood collected works of art by
women long before their place in the canon was acknowledged by art
historians and museums.
George Cruikshank (1792-1878), one of the
most prolific illustrators and satirists working in England,
began his career as a child during the Golden Age of English
Satire (1770-1820), creating biting satires that were sold
as individually etched sheets or in pamphlets. He never lost
his provocative edge. In the 1820s, as singular satirical
etchings declined in importance, he successfully shifted
to book illustration, including collaborating with Charles
Cruikshank's images are versatile, imaginative, humorous,
and incisive. He began campaigning against alcohol, especially
gin, in 1830s. In 1847 he renounced alcohol and became an
enthusiastic supporter of the Temperance Movement in Great
sharp contrast to his early years when the wee hours of
often found him in police custody and his publishers wondering
if he were going to make deadline. Cruikshank's crusade
the evils of alcohol culminated in The Worship of Bacchus,
a huge painting begun in 1860 and completed in 1862. This
image depicts a skeletal Medusa raising a cup of alcohol
to the crowd, while the Devil enjoins them to imbibe. The
is humorous, yet biting.
The pen and ink drawings of Edwin Austin Abbey
(1852-1911), are emblematic of the Golden Age of American
An exceptional illustrator, by the age of nineteen Abbey
had became one of Harper's most talented artists.
Inspired by the work of pre-Raphaelite artists exhibited
in the Philadelphia
Centennial Exhibition in 1876, he went to England in 1878
where he remained. While in England, Harper's New Monthly
Magazine commissioned him to illustrate the novel Judith
Shakespeare. In this image, Abbey depicts William
Shakespeare's second daughter Judith strolling along
the River Avon with
her mastiff and encountering Master Leofric Hope to illustrate
a scene from chapter fifteen in the book. She allows
stranger to have a preliminary reading of her father's new
play, The Tempest, an indiscretion that leads
to disaster in the novel.
This fantasy image is one of twelve drawings
by renowned German artist and illustrator Heinrich Kley (1863-1945).
Drawings by such European master illustrators as James Gillray,
Thomas Rowlandson, George Hogarth, Honoré Daumier and
others represent an important component within the Wood collection.
Kley studied art at the Karlsruhe Akademie and in 1908 moved
to Munich where contributed satirical drawings to the popular
Simplicissimus and Jugend magazines. Described
as "Rubens corrupted by Rabelais," Kley transformed an ornate
building, probably a rathaus or city hall, into a monstrous
beast with grotesque figures in what is most likely a commentary
on German politics.
Nell Brinkley (1886-1944) epitomized the early
twentieth-century woman cartoonist, drawing exquisite cartoons
and illustrations of young, beautiful women. However, Brinkley's
characters were not all fluff. Here she uses her "Brinkley
girls," full of ruffles and lace, to criticize the government
for not providing housing for the hundreds of young women
who had flocked to Washington to take jobs left by enlistees
during World War I only to discover they were barred from
renting apartments. A working woman herself, Brinkley rallied
for the rights of other women. Her work at the Denver
Times attracted the attention of William Randolph Hearst
for whom she worked in New York for 31 years. The popularity
of her feminine characters led to a Brinkley Girl being featured
in the 1908 and 1909 Ziegfeld Follies.
Uncle Sam's Girl-Shower
Pencil and ink on board.
Published in 1918 by
Hearst's International News Service.
Rinaldo for the time escapes the
Gouache on board.
Published in Katharine Pyle, Charlemagne and His Knights
told and illustrated by Katharine Pyle
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1932.
The works of artist, illustrator, and author
Katharine Pyle (1863-1938) are among hundreds of drawings
by notable women artists in the collection. Pyle began her
career at sixteen as an writer with a poem in Atlantic
Monthly. She studied art with her more famous brother,
Howard Pyle, who set artistic standards for the Golden Age
of American Illustration. She had a rare combination of gifts
for writing and illustration and achieved recognition through
her short stories, poems, and plays for children, including
Charlemagne and His Knights. Prolific as a writer
and illustrator, she published more than a book a year from
1898 to 1934. In her portrayal of Rinaldo as he crouches on
a beam to escape a beast in the castle of Altaripa in Charlemagne
and His Knights, Pyle uses color in her gouache subtly,
the gold and silver hues enhancing romantically the composition.
Already an accomplished caricaturist Miguel
Covarrubias (1904-1957) took New York by storm when he arrived
from his native Mexico in 1923. By 1925, he had become one
of Vanity Fair's principal contributors, as renowned
as the men and women he drew. In his introduction to Covarrubias's
first book, The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans
(1925), performing arts critic Carl Van Vechten wrote, "At
the present moment, Miguel Covarrubias is about as well known
in New York as it would be possible for anyone to be." In
the series Impossible Interviews he brilliantly paired
prominent politicians, artists, writers and actors who would
never be seen together in real life. He pairs Samuel "Roxy"
Rothafel, designer of Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy Theater,
with impresario conductor Arturo Toscanini, musical director
of the New York Philharmonic.