Monday, January 11, 2010
Before Rackham, Pyle, and Pogány, there was Crane.
Happy New Year. I've been away for a bit, holidays and all that. Let's get back to business. Books in the pipe- a selection of Maxfield Parrish imagery is going through final press stages, and my book on H. J. Ford is about ready to head to the printer. A few weeks ago I announced an upcoming project on Walter Crane (1845-1915), and promised a peek at what makes him interesting. Let's get to that now.
The thing that makes Crane stand out the most, is that he was one of the first—predating H. J. Ford, even. His early children's work changed and developed as printing technology did, with heavy lines and flat color at first, where the work of his last two volumes more closely resembled the fully rendered paintings he produced in the latter part of his career. All throughout, he was a great advocate of the decorated book, and produced many publications that showcased his skills from title-page to end.
He did not look back to the Pre-Raphaelites, they were his contemporaries. While an illustrator trying to enter the fine art market is a rare and difficult task now, Crane did well in both areas, concurrently. His imaginative work ran the gamut between nursery rhymes to classic mythology. His styles ranged from simple line to full-blown oils to design and patterns. He was in-step with the active art scene of the day, but found commercial outlets that made him highly successful.
There is a LOT of material on Crane out there, but here are a few of the better links to the tip of the iceberg-
Crane at Artmagick
At the Elizabeth Nesbitt room