I have mentioned in the blog once or twice that with the exception of some rather good motivational posters by the likes of Bill Jones there are very few original pre ww2 American posters in the big poster auctions

This lead me wrongly to assert that there were few talented American poster artists of the pre war and Art Deco posters

I stand corrected, the illustrations for magazine covers, particularly Fortune Magazine and the New Yorker are outstanding.

One such artist is Ervine Metzl

Ervine Metzl was born in Chicago in 1899 to Ignatz and Bertha (Kohn) Metzl, Jewish immigrants from Bohemia.

As a young man, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and showed an interest in poster design. In July 1917, in the midst of the First World War his Red Cross poster earned an honorable mention at the Art Institute‘s Exhibition of Posters for National Service.[1]

He created several posters for a series commissioned by the Chicago Transit Authority in the early 1920s.[2] Metzl’s posters, The Evanston Lighthouse by the Elevated Lines and The Field Museum by the Elevated Lines (featuring a toucan) are still reproduced today. A 2004 exhibit in Chicago featured several of Metzl’s transit posters, and the Chicago Tribune art critic commented, “The boldest pieces, because they are the simplest in form and most lively in color, are by Ervine Metzl, who apparently began the series in 1921.”[3]

The cover of Fortune magazine featured Metzl’s depictions of an astronomical observatory and a comet (July 1932)[4] and a window washer (November 1932).[5]

The magazine covers of this era are surprisingly affordable and are a great way to start a collection

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