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Magazine Art

Magazines shaped our lives, and the rest is history.

The great illustrators of the period 1850-1950 had a tremendous influence on us and the rest of the world. One of the most popular ways they presented their work was as the cover art for the mass and specialist magazines that were published under thousands of titles and in millions and millions of copies. We know today of Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, but there were hundreds and thousands of other artists whose work is now forgotten except by collectors and specialists. Some have been honored by art books about their work, but most are now simply unknown to the general public.

One reason for this undeserved obscurity is that their work is quite difficult to find. Bound volumes of these magazines, both in libraries and in the hands of private collectors, usually do not include the covers, for reasons we today find hard to imagine. You must look for individual copies of these magazines, sold as collector's items and available in variable condition. Old magazines turn up regularly on eBay and in shops, but they are expensive, and it is difficult to find, analyze, and store them in one's home. Hence

We scan and photograph magazine covers from this era: as many as we can find, of whatever subject matter. The only requirement is that the issue must -have- a cover design. We prefer the ones that change from issue to issue, but we'll record them even if they simply list the contents of the magazine. We've had images donated, and we've picked them up where we can. At this time we have thousands of them, many of them suitable for display but all requiring some processing in Photoshop before they are presentable.

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Magazine Art: Tobacco Products
by Winsor McCay
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Selling cigarettes to women, and one of the most remarkable ads ever designed for this purpose. Winsor McCay, best known for Little Nemo, but a then-famous illustrator in a variety of fields, went not just over the top but completely out of sight with this one: whips, domination, chains, spiritual peace, American Intelligence, and two suggestive hillocks. But the copywriter was singing the same tune. From the October 25, 1929 issue of LIFE, the Humor Magazine. Artist: Winsor McCay Source:...
Topics: Advertising Art in Magazines, Tobacco Products, Cigarette Ads, magazine covers, vintage magazines,...