Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bessie Pease Gutmann -- Golden Age of Illustration

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Bessie Pease Gutmannn was one of the women illustrators from what is considered the Golden Age of Illustration late 1800s to early 1900s. Improved printing techniques and booming industrialized economy allowed for lavishly produced books filled with illustrations.

She learned her trade at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Jessie Wilcox Smith also attended the school, at earlier date. Howard Pyle considered the father of American illustration taught at the Drexel School in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was a breeding ground for American illustrators at the time.

Pease Gutmann's first illustrated books were A Child's Garden of Verses in 1905 and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1907. Her early works were influenced by the Drexel School artists -- black outlines and flat colors. They are wonderful illustrations and she had the ability to capture the spontaneity and innocence of childhood.

When she had her own children, she started to use them as models and developed the style she is known for. Very sweet, innocent and healthy babies and toddlers painted in pastel tones. In many of her paintings adorable puppies -- often collies -- complete the picture.

Unlike many of her contemporaries, she was fortunate to be able to combine her career with motherhood. Her husband owned the publishing company she worked for.
These illustrations came from Sweet Dreams It combines the lovely art of Bessie Pease Gutmann with the poems of Pamela Prince.

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