Americana Illustration Artists


July, the month of barbecues and Patriotism, is finally here and thriving at Bruneau & Co! We have acquired an important and extremely impressive collection of paintings and sketches by prolific illustrators of Americana both my Pop Culture and Joel Bohy’s Militaria departments are excited to talk about. We’ve got pieces by big-name artists Tom Lovell, Howard Pyle, and J.C. Leyendecker so I thought I’d take a moment to explain what makes these guys so cool in the world of American illustration art.

First up is Howard Pyle, whose works are dynamic and expressive. He gives each figure in his illustrations their own individual personalities and creates powerful imagery that draws the eye inward. Pyle showed off his talents early on and was fortunate enough to study under Belgian painter F.A. van der Wielen before going to New York to join the Art Students League. By the 1870s, he began doing illustrations for the children’s magazine St. Nicholas among others, however he is best known for being the author and illustrator of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood as well as The Story of King Arthur and his Knights.

Likewise, Tom Lovell’s works look like they were taken straight from the movies, his works are inviting and have a romanticized quality to them. Lovell was an early advocate for Native Americans and denounced the ill treatment of them by the United States government and stated as much in his High School valedictorian speech. This laid the groundwork and acted as an early nod to his future works depicting the west. He was a freelance artist associated closely with Colliers, McCalls, and National Geographic as well as being a pulp illustrator associated with “Dime Mystery.”

Finally, we have Joseph Christian Leyendecker, an artist who breathes life into his works. His portraits of people are lifelike and have a photographic quality to them, perfectly capturing a single moment in time. Leyendecker studied with John Vanderpoel at the Chicago Art Institute and later went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian with his brother Francis Xavier. He went on to paint more than four hundred magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post as well as advertising for Kellogg’s and fashion brands. In fact, Norman Rockwell used Leyendecker as inspiration early in his career.

If any of these names stuck out to you, make sure to check out our upcoming Historic Illustration Art auction, we have plenty more where these came from!


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