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Fashion illustration
October 15th, 2009
08:42 pm


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Carl "Eric" Erickson: изысканный реализм
Рисунки Эрика (1891-1958, настоящее имя Карл Эриксон) находились скорее под влиянием импрессионизма. Можно даже определить их как романтические.  Как правило, его иллюстрации исполнены спокойного, гармоничного, почти созерцательного настроения. Эрик умел удивительно точно воссоздать стиль одежды того времени, заостряя впечатление с помощью какой-то характерной детали: шали, шляпки, перчаток, цветка или ленты в волосах. Его манера вскоре стала визитной карточкой Vogue, с которым он сотрудничал на протяжении почти 20 лет.



Carl (Eric) Erickson

In Forty Illustrators and How They Work, author Ernest W. Watson writes, "There is no reason, of course, why the suave delineator of chic femininity, whose drawings for twenty years have given poignance to America's smartest fashion magazine, should not have been born in Joliet, Illinois."

"But it would not be expected. Such graphic sophistication one might insist must emanate from an artist Parisian born and Parisian bred."
"Erickson, as a matter of fact, has lived most of his professional life in France - from 1920, in the early years of his career, until 1940."

"With his wife and daughter he left France several weeks after its occupation by Hitler's legions; taking with him no more of his goods and chattels than could be jammed into a few suitcases."

"However, he had his fortune in his hands; he needed nothing but a brush and a little color to reestablish himself back home."
"Here he was right on Vogue's doorstep ready to continue his monthly contributions which have appeared in that magazine without interruption since 1923."

"He was also within arm's length of national advertisers who at once began to compete for his elegant drawings, as French merchants had done previously."

From Ernest W. Watson's Forty Illustrators and How They Work:
"It was Victor Hugo, I believe, who was asked if the writing of epic poetry were not tremendously difficult. His classic reply, "Easy or impossible!", may appropriately be applied to such drawings as come from Erickson's inspired brush. They give the impression of having sprung to life without suffering the usual labor pains."

"But his performance looks too easy; its nonchalance is deceptive. It is not accomplished without a struggle."

"Erickson, indeed, is a hard-working man, a very serious artist who is usually practicing when not actually performing. For every piece of work reproduced in the magazines he has made dozens of studies. In spare moments he is usually busy drawing or painting from the model - he never draws without a model - and his sketchbook goes with him to the restaurant and the theatre."

"Although few are aware of it, he has done a lot of painting in oil, principally portraits."

"All of which is no denial of Victor Hugo's epigram. Erickson's particular genius is pretty much a gift of the gods, even though he has met the gods considerably more than half way."

"Erikson's line drawings are usually rendered in Wolff pencil, charcoal or chinese ink. This latter comes in cakes or sticks which have to be ground in water in a small mortar designed for the purpose. It will yield a jet black or produce any tone of gray, depending upon the saturation of the mixture."

"Color may be added, as more often than not it is; but the net result is a colored line drawing. [He] is an impulsive worker. Standing at his board, which is tilted at a slight angle, he attacks the paper with a free arm thrust that reminds one of a fencer wielding his foil. The drawing isn't always good. Indeed the studio floor may be littered with innumerable trials before one is certified by that well-known fixture, "Eric".

"There is no such thing as "fixing-up" an Erickson drawing: if it is not right as it first springs directly from his hand, it must be discarded and a fresh attempt made. The artist would no more think of going back to correct an error than would a musician during a concert performance."


Walt Reed wrote about Eric in his book, The Illustrator in America. Reed said that the artist was "himself the personification of his elegant world... [he] wore a bowler and carried a walking stick, and he directly participated in the fashionable life of the international set."

Reed tells us that Eric "dominated the field of fashion illustration for over thirty-five years." That's a pretty remarkable accomplishment, unmatched, I would venture, by any other 20th century illustrator!
Eric became a staff illustrator for Vogue magazine in 1923, and most of this week's scans will be from that publication.

Reed also writes that Eric's "drawings and paintings are authoritative because he knew his subjects and their world; his taste and beautiful draftsmanship reveal him to be an artist of permanent importance."
"Erikson's art is primarily an art of line."
Here's what Fred Smith, an illustrator at the Cooper Studio in it's heyday, had to say about Eric:
"He would draw from the model & a few lines would tell everything. He lived in the building diagonally across from Cooper Studio. We would see him in the early morning. He had a bowler, beautiful clothes, a Chinese chef & a poodle. Sometimes he'd be standing out in the middle of the street at Lexington & 57th directing traffic with a newspaper when he when he was headed for Third Avenue, for his morning martini. He was the ultimate artist -- a magnificent artist. Never sober, but never disreputable in any way. He just led a charmed life. He would come into a bar where all the guys from Cooper's went -- The Venetian. It was just below the studio, on Lexington. He always had a carnation in his lapel. He generally had a walking stick with him. He loved the fights. He would come into The Venetian & demonstrate how Sharkey fought, how Tunney fought, & he would prance around. Everybody would go up to the Waldorf for lunch, & so would he. He had a whistle he'd blow when he got in there, & the waiters would come over & take him to a table. He would have a lot of martinis & eat a little something. He had a certain style that doesn't exist anymore."


H20_eric_1939_mainbocher.jpg H20_eric_1939_patou.jpg

H32_nettie_rosenstein_1945_eric.jpg H3_nettie_rosenstein_1945_eric.jpg

H6_hattie_carnegie_1946_eric_2.jpg H6_hattie_carnegie_1946_eric_2_d.jpg

H6_schiaparelli_1937_eric.jpg Paquin_1937__3_eric_v.jpg











Eric_1950_balenciaga_gres.jpg Eric_1950_balenciaga_gres_v.jpg

Eric_1950_molyneux_balmain.jpg Eric_1950_molyneux_balmain_v.jpg



Z_coty_1943_eric2.jpg Z_coty_1943_eric_23.jpg












BoleroSuit-1943EricVogue2.jpg Vogue_1954.jpg
Dior_1951_VogueEric êîïèÿ.jpg LELONGFashionPagebyEric-1946.jpg

Caroline Reboux, 1928

Eric_1933.jpg Eric_1933_v.jpg

Eric_1936_robe_rose.jpg Eric_1937_2_molyneux.jpg

Eric_1946.jpg Eric_1946__4_chapeaux.jpg

Gui_1948_eric_2juin.jpg G_eric_1940_paquin.jpg

H20_eric_1939_lanvin_patou.jpg H20_hattie_carnegie_1949_eric_2.jpg

H23_eric_1937_molyneux.jpg L_eric_1946.jpg

L_eric_1946_v.jpg Maggy_Rouff_1937_eric.jpg

Mainbocher_1936_eric.jpg Molyneux_1927_eric.jpg


O_eric_1947.jpg O_eric_1947_molyneux.jpg

Paquin_1937__3_eric.jpg  V_eric_1947_maggy_rouff.jpg

 Q_piguet_1939_eric.jpg Q_piguet_1939_eric_v.jpg

Q_worth_1939_eric.jpg Q_worth_1939_eric_v.jpg

Schiaparelli_1936_eric.jpg Vionnet_1936_2_eric2.jpg

V_eric_1947_balmain.jpg V_eric_1947_fath.jpg


Eric_1937_vogue.jpg eric_vogue1jul34.jpg
3382328997_c170991168_o.jpg carl_erickson_350.jpg

carlerickson.jpg Carl Erickson OCT1.jpg
Photographic style
Beginning in 1930, the covers and the treatment of the illustrations became less fanciful. Carl Erickson set the style for the decade. His drawings anticipated by several decades what other magazines would eventually do. Eric did it in 1932.
10852.jpg 11194.jpg
12272.jpg 12328.jpg

12294.jpg 12301.jpg

H17_coty_1945_eric.jpg H17_coty_1945_eric_2.jpg

H17_coty_1946_eric.jpg H19_coty_1944_eric.jpg

eric_columbia_ginger_l3nv41.jpg   eric_coty47_46.jpg

 eric_coty_l11jun45.jpg eric_coty_l2apr45.jpg
H11_coty_1947_eric.jpg H22_orsay_1946_vendome_v.jpg



The Extent of Eric's InfluenceH
How far did Eric's stylistic influence extend?

Interestingly, the editors of the 1952 Art Directors Annual chose to put the René Bouché piece above and the Eric piece below next to each other on the same page. Yes, they are both fashion illustrations from Vogue, from the same year. But did one artist influence the other? Walt Reed's biography of Bouché in The Illustrator in America doesn't say. However, Eric had already been an important regular contributor to Vogue for years by the time Bouché had his first piece published in 1938 in the magazine's Paris edition. I think its safe to assume Eric must have influenced all of fashion illustration during his time.

Rene Robert Bouche
Jack Potter
"Eric was Jack's favorite artist," Daniel wrote to me in an email the other day. "He told me that from time to time he was called on to do similar work to Eric. I think it was in part because Eric was either too busy or drunk to do the work. And Jack was able to do what was needed."

Bob Peak


(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 16th, 2009 08:08 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
О!!! Фантастика! Прекрасно! и так много картинок! спасибище:)
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