Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The Virtues of Gray?
This post is a question that has recently been tossed about in my editorial head.
A great deal of work in the Golden Age of illustration was published as halftone (or grayscale) art. For every nice color plate I find for a new Dover publication, or to post here on VIEW, I find three that were printed in various tones of gray.
My question is— Does that work hold any value and or interest to this audience today? I'm not speaking about the general public, I mean people who are fans of illustration for whatever reason, and who are usually the ones who throw down a few bucks for a Dover collection of Golden Age images? If you've been tempted to comment in the past but haven't, or even if you have, THIS IS YOUR WEEK. Throw me some comments, let me know, it could—no, will—affect the selection and layout of my next book to be submitted....
SO—To help the discussion, or at least what I hope will be one, I've picked a few pieces of grayscale art that I have found worth looking at more than once. I don't want to influence your comments on this, so I'll just give you the facts, and you tell me, does this material merit some study, would you pass it up, or is it as worthwhile as a similar color plate?
This first piece picks up on the last entry- The Prospector is an N. C. Wyeth piece from a McClure's Magazine, 1906.
Wyeth's teacher follows, that's Howard Pyle with Blackbeard's last fight, Century Magazine, 1894.
Sydney M. Chase is weighing the fish from Scribner's, June, 1908.
Fourth is Woldemar Fredirich, with a scene of "The Wild Huntsman" from The Illustrator, 1895.
and last is George Wright, with the firefighting scene, Scribner's, 1902.
Let me know if this kind of imagery is welcome in a book you might buy today, and why. Comments encouraged.