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Bob Wilvers… Up to Date

September 26, 2022

Morning Everyone and I hope this finds you well.

I’ve recently added to my old post on the artist Bob Wilvers from the 1960’s, so for those of you who didn’t follow me back in 2011, here’s a complete update. Enjoy !

Bob Wilvers was the art director for the Carl Ally agency in the early 1960’s when he developed a campaign for Salada Tea. The commercial featured little old ladies on large Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the tag line ….. ”Who says that Salada Tea is for little old ladies?”  There’s a link to a poor copy of the original ad here and another 3 amusing Salada Tea ads here.

In 1964, he became a founding partner and co-creative director at Jack Tinker & Partners, with a client roster that included Coca-Cola, Gillette and Alka-Seltzer Plus. He was an accomplished watercolor painter and illustrator whose work was featured in several galleries and museums. Apparently Milwaukee based Wilvers was just 24 when he painted these.

I received an email from Terry who had read my blog about the illustrator Bob Wilvers and for those of you who missed it (tut tut) you can catch up here. At the end of the article I asked if anyone knew of any more of Bob’s work could they let me know. Terry not only knew of his work, but had an illustration of his own and even sent a copy so that I could show you all.

Terry explains ” I found this WC in a very rural part of Indiana and it reminds me of an area in West Allis, Milwaukee which was a district of homes which were bars/pubs on the first floor, and homes/apartments above on second/third floors. The signature looks a little like “williams” but on the back printed in pencil was Bob Wilvers on an entry form to an art exhibit in Milwaukee, so I assume this was painted well before he moved to NYC. Bob thumb-tacked the paper to a board, you can see 6 white holes around the edges where the water flowed around.” Such wonderful work, again with such spirit and so well observed. I’m so grateful to Terry for sharing this beautiful piece of Wilmers’ art with us, thanks again Terry.

For those of you who are still following me, regarding  the story of Bob Wilvers, there is yet a further addition and a surprising happy ending.

After a reader of my blog sent me an image he had of Bobs’ work, I was suddenly gripped with an urge to see if there was indeed more images to be discovered. I was lucky to be able to track down Bobs’ daughters Roberta and Tracy, and they very kindly sent me some images of the pieces of their fathers’ work, that they had in their homes. Such beautiful work should be shared with many and I hope that by blogging here, we can all appreciate what an amazingly skilled artist he was.

Roberta informed me that ” The images that you have on your blog came from the Ford Times October 1956. It was an article that was written by my mom and illustrated by my dad. One of the attached images is also from that piece. The other images are from the August 1957 issue. The Ford Times had quite a few piecesof my dad’s work. They donated one of the them, ‘ Trinity Church ‘ to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. ” (Featured further down).

I love the summery feel to his watercolours above and perhaps later images below where Bobs’ style has developed and flourished into new areas.

My favourites however are still his beautiful landscapes, with their rich colours and textures.

Sincere thanks again to both Roberta and Tracy for kindly allowing us access to the images above. Amazingly, I’ve just managed to find an online copy of the Ford Times magazine October 1956 for sale, which features some of Bobs’ work. So a little piece of Mr Wilvers will live in my home too.

Also many thanks to Marilyn for sending this image of two paintings of Bob’s that she saw an antique show approx 10-12 years ago in the booth of W M Schwind Jr Antiques of Yarmouth, ME. They were marked $3500 each.

Another update (April 2017), just in from Tracy, who’s really enjoying seeing images of her dad’s work appear here. She sent me a link to the painting of Trinity Church at the Smithsonian (but not hanging at present). Another beauty, thanks Tracy.

Finally, a reader called Richard contacted me with these two wonderful pieces. Apparently, Richard’s father told him that Bob painted these in his eighth grade, they have been hanging on his living room wall since he was a child. How lucky ! Thanks Richard for getting in touch and sharing those with us, much appreciated.


1959 Cover for Fortune Magazine

If anyone has any links to more of Bob’s beautiful illustrations could they please let me know. There’s an interesting article about his work in advertising here and a great feature about his life history here.



10 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracy Hager permalink
    September 26, 2022 7:50 am

    Really loved this. Always a great start to my morning. Thanks again – as ever.

  2. Mirka Hokkanen permalink
    September 26, 2022 7:52 am

    You have outdone yourself once again! I love this post with the stories and work shared. What an artist Bob was.

  3. September 26, 2022 1:00 pm

    I think you and those that follow you, me included, have similar tastes in art and pottery. I love this stuff. I was a potter in the late sixties and worked for an artisan pottery for several years. The only person that made money was the owner, so eventually I left and retrained. However, the sort of work you admire suits me to the ground and every post makes for a cheery morning. It was a cold, wet morning in Devon, but the sunshine and colour in these works were very heartening. Thanks for reminding me of this artist.

    • September 26, 2022 1:12 pm

      Thanks Clare, I think we may. If you think of anyone I might have missed out please send me a name or two ; )

      • September 26, 2022 1:16 pm

        I’ll have a think, some of the Cornish painters and potters are good, but you are pretty comprehensive in your coverage. It must be hard to find new artists to cover. Your website is a fine resource.

  4. HM from across the pond permalink
    September 26, 2022 1:01 pm

    Thanks for another great article about another wonderful artist.

  5. Deirdre O'Sullivan from Australia permalink
    September 26, 2022 6:27 pm

    That was brill to see – I paint with acrylics, mostly, but I am a great admirer of water colour artists like Bob Wilvers, as I think it requires the most skill and confidence – you have to work so quickly, and deftly, and you can’t erase any mistakes. I wish I could see some of his kids’ book illustrations – I just checked online, and sadly they all now seem to be out of print. I bet they were charming and oh-so-groovy in that 1960s way!

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