Walt Otto and Lucian Lupinski: Two Saturday Evening Post artists take the spotlight on October 13
October 10, 2012 | view archive
One of the wonderful things about putting together an auction is that sometimes we get to discover unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated offerings. This time around, while digging around to learn a little more about illustrators Walt Otto and Lucian Lupinski, we were pleased to learn that both artists’ work had appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.
SHORT HISTORY LESSON:
The well-loved Saturday Evening Post has been part of American culture in some from for more than 300 years—making its first appearance in 1728 as Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. The publication made its official debut as The Saturday Evening post in 1821, as a four-age newspaper, without illustrations.
It was under George Horace Lorimer, who was editor from 1899-1936 that the magazine first introduced produced a distinct cover featuring artwork or illustrations. Wildly popular through the first half of the 20th Century, the Saturday Evening Post’s circulation dwindled in the 1950s, thanks to the advent of television. Publication briefly ceased in 1969, but the magazine re-emerged in 1971, setting up headquarters in Indianapolis.
Otto and Lupinski represent these two distinct eras of the Saturday Evening Post’s history. Otto contributed work during the magazine’s heyday, producing covers though the 1920s, 30s and 40s, while Lupinski had an artistic hand in the publication’s resurrection. Both were prolific artists who left an imprint on our collective visual narrative.
Otto: Beyond Pinups
Walt Otto (1895-1963) was a 20th Century illustrator, known for his luscious pinups and classic country girls that were frequently featured in his illustrations. His work appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post and Women’s Weekly. He created prints, posters and ads for major U.S. companies, including Alka-Seltzer, Shell Oil, Anheuser-Busch, Schlitz Beer, Kellogg’s, Mars Candy, H.J. Heinz, as well as Twenty Grand Cigarettes.
As the subject of the large-scale adverting illustration coming up in Antique Helper’s August 13 Auction, Twenty Grand (1928-1948) was a pinup of a different variety. He was bred at Greentree Stables in Lexington, Kentucky (now Gainesway Farm). In 1931, as a two year old, he placed second at the Preakness. Undeterred, he won the Kentucky Derby—setting the record for fastest mile ever made by a two-year-old at Churchill Downs, then went on to win the Belmont Stakes, earning The Eclipse award for 1931 Horse of the Year.
Above: Miss Joni's Twenty Grand-inspired Pinboard.
He became a favorite among advertisers, too. He was named after Twenty Grand Cigarettes and his image is frequently found on the brand’s advertising. A fine equine figure is also featured on advertising for Twenty Grand razors.
Walt Otto’s work is highly sought after among advertising collectors. Considering the large scale of this painting, as well as the star-quality subject matter, this offering is expected to attract diverse appeal across a wide spectrum of collectors.
Lupinski in the Spotlight
We are pleased to introduce another Saturday Evening Post illustrator in this auction.
Lucian Lupinski (1918-2002) joined the Saturday Evening Post at the company’s Indianapolis Headquarters in 1973 and was quickly dubbed “our new Norman Rockwell” by the Post staff.
As the publication’s artist in residence, Lupinksi joined the ranks of some of the best-loved American artists and illustrators, whose work has graced magazine’s cover. The short list includes: N.C. Wyeth, J. C. and Frank X. Leyendecker, J.F. Kernan, John Falter, Mead Schaeffer, Alan Foster, Howard Pyle, and of course, Norman Rockwell
Lupinski remained at The Saturday Evening Post through the late 1980s and illustrated approximately eight covers while there. He studied under Theodore Keane at Ohio State University, at the Grand Central School of Art and the Art Students League in New York, and at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Although he is best known as an illustrator, his range as an artist includes many styles, techniques, and media.
There are more than 30 works by Lucian Lupinski presented in our October 13 auction, including portraits, studies, advertising illustrations and paintings. This auction represents an exciting opportunity for collectors to be among the first to own works by a memorable American illustrator.