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Lorraine Fox A Pioneering Artist

May 24, 2011

If I were to show you this and ask when you thought it was created, I’d guess you’d probably reply that it

felt like a contemporary illustration and could have been drawn yesterday. So would you be surprised to

learn that it was probably created some 50 odd years ago ? I certainly was.

Lorraine Fox (1922–1976) was a prolific American illustrator and commercial artist. She worked at the

Charles E. Cooper studio with a collection of well-known male illustrators of the 1950s, including

Al Parker, Coby Whitmore, Jon Whitcomb, and Joseph Bowler. Their office published in many

mainstream magazines in the 1950s, and given attitudes towards working women in the period,

(think MAD MEN ) Lorraine struggled, but managed, to carve an enduring place as a

respected illustrator. At a time when American beauty was being defined for women by men,

Lorraine managed to convince the art directors of some of the country’s most prominent

publications that her unique voice should also be heard.

In magazines of the time like Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, etc. practically all

of the illustration was created by men in that sort of ‘idealized realism’ style of painting

we nostalgically recall today as “retro”. Lorraine somehow carved her way in and survived, paving

the way for the commercial female artist.

Reflective, sometimes humorous and fun, sometimes graphical or painterly she had a great

scope of styles and managed to create emotion and dialogue through her work.

I came across her work thanks to a blog about female illustrators from the mid 20th Century here.

Thanks to Heritage Auctions for the scans of some of her work.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 7:59 am

    Hi Craig, thanks so much for educating me about Lorraine Fox, I didn’t know her work and it is beautiful, really captures the spirit of the age for me, all the books I read and loved… I meant to comment when you posted but it’s hard work to do it on the iphone! Thanks again for this – oh and I love your cat sketches 🙂

  2. May 26, 2011 8:14 am

    Thanks Sue

    I also enjoy reading your blog and find the links you have inspirational too, keep it up, especially when things are hard going. I’m at a similar point to you and it does help. Appreciate the comments.

  3. April 22, 2012 6:48 am

    she is the best. I have about 10 of her original illustrations. In my opinion she is a high artist, who is looked over and put in the dustbins of history. She should be in the MOMA.

    • April 22, 2012 7:08 am

      If you’ve any photos of her pieces that I’ve not included in the blog piece, I’d be happy to add them if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks Robert

  4. April 22, 2012 6:49 am

    one more thing about her. She is not a copy cat artist like you find in most art galleries and in the contempory art sales at sotheby’s and christies.

    • April 22, 2012 7:07 am

      I agree Robert and it’s a good point to make. Thanks for your comment.

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