Thursday, January 24, 2008

ROBERT G. HARRIS (1911-2007)

The illustrator Robert G. Harris died a few weeks ago at the age of 96. His career spanned many of the glory years of illustration.

Harris learned art at the feet of early masters such as Harvey Dunn and George Bridgman. He illustrated everything from crude pulps to refined magazines for women. (This WW II illustration of a war bride learning the fate of her soldier husband appeared in the latter).

As a successful illustrator in an era when illustrations helped to shape the national imagination, Harris could afford to build a large home and studio in fabled Westport, Connecticut with three cars in his garage and his own private sea-plane at the beach. As the illustration field grew, the top talent from around the country flocked to Westport to try their luck.  Soon, Harris found Westport was becoming too crowded. Harris' friend, the great illustrator Al Parker, explained that early illustrators such as Harris sought out Westport for its "cornfields and crickets."   When the open fields filled with houses, Parker followed Harris to Arizona.

Harris continued to work and paint in Scottsdale Arizona. With his death, another chapter in the long and colorful history of illustration comes to a close.

We extend our sincere regrets to his family.


spacejack said...

Wow, that's a stunning illustration.

It's interesting that you can tell exactly what it's about, based on the subject matter and the time the style & fashion suggests.

When it was contemporary, I'm sure it was instantly readable for its timely subject matter.

Anonymous said...

I really like the way he caste part of her face in shadow. It communicates the internal grief and confusion of the woman. Without the shadow I think it would looked to mannered. He was a real master and will be missed. Thanks for sharing his work!

Anonymous said...

I knew 'Bob'. He was a gifted artist and a true gentleman.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information on Mr. Harris. I am a fan of the pulps.The drawings were just fantastic.There was an article about Mr. Harris in the May 2006 Arizona Highways magazine. I was always going to "seek him out" but never got around to it. This fellow would have been just great to talk to. Another from the past is no longer.

lisa said...

Bobby was my grandfather. I would love to find some of his illustration paintings and willing to pay for them. My mother was also an incredible artist but unfortunately she past away over a year ago. If anyone is in possession of any of his paintings I would love to know.

Hedgehoff said...

Hello there! I'm a scholar at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland trying to find out who Robert G. Harris's copyright holder is. Do you know? I need to seek permission to reproduce one of his paintings from McCall's in an academic journal.

Many thanks,
Steve Gronert Ellerhoff