Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Elizabeth Shippen Green, 1871-1954
A century ago, there were not many professional fields in which a woman was welcome to advance—
As high-profile as illustration was (at that time), it was a fair career choice for men and women. Howard Pyle's art classes at Drexel had a great deal of women in attendance, and many of those got strong illustration careers off the ground. Among those students—Jessie Wilcox-Smith, Violet Oakley, and Elizabeth Shippen Green.
Shippen Green's work has always been compelling to me. Her early work has something of a
"stained glass" quality to it—not that it is full of flat areas, like Harry Clarke's work, but it does have two features about it that are reminiscent of stained glass—the brilliant areas of clean color, and heavy blacks that separate them. (Watercolors over charcoal drawings) While her subjects are consistent with those of a score other active illustrators of the time, Shippen Green had a style that made her work readily identifiable, and nearly unique. I imagine it did not grant her the satisfaction she was looking for, for later in her career she strayed to be more mainstream, taking up opaque paints to produce work more in keeping with that of her contemporaries, and certainly more common in appearance. Most of her illustration work was done for Harper's Magazines, with whom she had an exclusive contract for twenty-three years, 1902-1924. Later she did occasional magazine covers and some book work as well.
Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr.'s Bio of ESG at Bud Plant
A terrific collection at Paul Giambarba's 100 Years of Illustration.
Something of a setback this last week, as my scanner is "no longer with us"... (These images were already "in the bank") I won't be long without one, but, please stand by...(Hum Girl from Ipanema in Bossa Nova beat...)