|Captain Keitt by Howard Pyle|
Why is this period of time so special? There are a few answers, some more technical than others, but basically the technology of printing in color had advanced, allowing printers to reproduce subtle values and colors like never before. Coupled with the beautiful, sumptuous influences of the Art Nouveau movement, the publishing industry began to produce books of stunning beauty and decadence. The public ate it up, and the precursor to the Coffee Table Book was born.
The most illustrated books in our current modern age is that of the child's book. Read, reread, and cherished, the children's book was something that both adults and children could love and read together. A race to produce the most beautiful of these books was set in motion in the late 19th Century, and thus arose the Golden Age. Whimsy, fantasy, drama and excitement were elements that dressed the pages of these books, and artists such as NC Wyeth (student of the great Howard Pyle and father to Andrew Wyeth), Maxfield Parrish, and of course Arthur Rackham rose to the challenge. Never in any other time were illustrators revered and so handsomely paid - not even today.
|Blind Pew by NC Wyeth|
|Job Cigarette ad by Mucha|
|Mr Toad, E.H. Shepard|
|My Rackham-inspired work for Ars Magica RPG, 1994|
So, back to our show...
Jeff was a shoe-in as guest curator, being an expert on the subject and all. He composed a list of artists he knew to be heavily inspired by the Golden Age, originally a list of 15 artists. The great James Gurney (also a Golden Age fanatic) was on top of the list but he is a busy, wanted man (and he's signed with another gallery). Greg Manchess was being honored by the Society of Illustrators (incidentally organized by many of the Golden Age greats) and all his work was sequestered for that show, also in September. A few others were detained (thank you, Illuxcon, hehe) but our final number was the respectable following: Donato Giancola, Tom Kidd, Gary Lippincott, Tony DiTerlizzi, Terese Nielsen, Echo Chernik, Socar Myles, Yoann Lossel, and Michael Hague. How can you not be over the moon with this group? Wait, you don't know who some of them are? Okay, I will educate you.
Donato Giancola: Well, he's a god. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but he is a legend in the fantasy world, with so many book covers to his name it's boggling. His merit list is so long it rivals Charles Manson's rap sheet. And he's not even 50! He was trained in classical realism and has managed to bridge that world and fantasy marvelously. His two drawings in our show are delicate, fluid, and natural.
|Rangers of Arnor by Donato Giancola|
|Words Like Coins by Tom Kidd|
|The Vampire's Beautiful Daughter by Gary Lippincott|
|Imagine by Tony DiTerlizzi|
|Hanna, Ship's Navigator by Terese Nielsen|
|Burlesque Belly Dancer by Echo Chernik|
|I DO NOT LIKE THIS MANHOLE by Socar Myles|
|Eros et Thanatos by Yoann Lossel|
|The Unicorn by Michael Hague|
This was a dream show for me. I love both the original period works as well as the contemporary work inspired from it. I hope some of this has rubbed off on any of you originally unfamiliar with the Golden Age, and I wouldn't be surprised if these contemporary artists inspired the artists of tomorrow. In that respect, the Golden Age is eternal.
Good night! - Julie Baroh, Sept 15th 2013