Friday, October 12, 2007

Magazine Illustration Part 2: HOLIDAY magazine

Arguably the high point of Searle's career was during the 50s & 60s when his style found a comfortable median between overtly cartoony & more realistic reportage such as the REFUGEE drawings. He had numerous commisions from American HOLIDAY magazine & was sent all over the world to capture the exotic & esoteric in his inimatable style. From German brothels to the Alaskan wilderness the drawings he produced for HOLIDAY are amongst his finest.

Alternative version-

Excerpt from an interview with Frank Zachary, picture editor of HOLIDAY Magazine during the fifties:

"While photography was the back bone of Holiday, illustration was its soul. Zachary was underwhelmed by the prevailing sentimental illustrative approach found in most American magazines, and eyed Europe, specifically England and France, for the surrealistic comic vision he was looking for. "Frank brought sophisticated illustration to American magazines," recalls Sam Antupit. "Other art directors brought powerful or clever images, but Frank bought an unprecedented sophistication. Of course it came from Europe since in the early Fifties there weren't too many Americans practicing sophisticated pen work . . ."

". . . Holiday artists like Ronald Searle, Andre Fran├žois, Roland Topor, Folon, Tomi Ungerer, Comenico Gnoli and Edward Gorey (one of the few native Americans practicing out of the mainstream) were given great latitude to develop their own stories and portfolios. Zachary avoided using the reigning stars because "that would be too easy," but chose to discover his own new galaxy. In most cases the artists actually transformed themselves in this environment. "I got people like Ronald Searle," remembers Zachary, "to do a feature on something like the London hotel scene. The first result was pretty straightforward, so I asked him to satirize it or just make it funny, and almost overnight, he changed his style, becoming the Searle that you and I know today." Searle concurs: "Frank gave me a lot of firsts. From around 1959 to 1969, he gave me all the space one could dream of, the chance to fill it with color, the freedom to travel and what proved to be the last of the great reportages. Off to Alaska! Cover all of Canada! Bring me ten pages on the dirty bits of Hamburg! No expense spared. The years of travel for Frank gave me experiences that cannot be bought. There was always one problem: he always called me 'Arnold' instead of Ronald. But then, he probably always called Arnold Newman 'Ronald,' so it balanced out."

Copyright 1991 by The American Institute of Graphic Arts.

 The magazine even published a letter of complaint from  illustrator John Maass in April 1957.

'HOLIDAY'S Art Director received the following from the artist who illustrated Punial's First American in the February issue:

Dear Mr Zacharie:
I don't know who is to blame at Curtiss.  Is it Mr Patric? Mr Beimiller? ANyway, my name is misspelled in the February issue of HOLIDAY.

John Maass

Mr. M proved his point.  Messrs. Zachary, Patrick and Biemiller of HOLIDAY, Curtis Publishing Company, will never forget it. - Ed.'



HOLIDAY Magazine, February 1965


Hawaii:Hotel Street, Honolulu HOLIDAY Magazine December 1965

Hawaii: Oahu HOLIDAY Magazine December 1965

Morocco: Family, Casablanca HOLIDAY Magazine September 1966

Germany: Black Forest HOLIDAY Magazine October 1964

'Welcome to the Reeperbahn', 1967 Pen & Wash

HOLIDAY Magazine January 1968

Canada: Hudson's Bay HOLIDAY Magazine April 1964.

This would later lead to a commission from The Hudson's Bay Company to illustrate their calender, the drawings for which were subsequently published in the book THE GREAT FUR OPERA, 1970.

HOLIDAY Magazine, March 1964

Frank Zachary would later go on to have a brief tenure as Art Director of TRAVEL & LEISURE Magazine & would again commision travel sketches from Searle.

TRAVEL & LEISURE autumn 1971 Original stolen New York.

'Shrine', 1975 Pen & Watercolour

Travel & Leisure Magazine, New York August 1975

'Crete', 1965 Pen & Watercolour

Venture Magazine, New York April 1966



Holiday magazine April 1961

San Francisco is the destination of Holiday's sumptuous April 1961 issue: It is a San Francisco of another time and place, one in which, even half a century later, the glamour, color, drive, grit and sheer wonder of the place is rekindled by a leaf through the magazine. This issue of Curtis Publishing's Holiday portrayed a city in love with itself and its past, yet teetering on the edge of a roiling future.
Holiday, Vol. 29, No. 4 is image-rich front to back. Its cover is a pastiche by David Stone Martin of "painted lady" Victorians, cable cars, Coit Tower, Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge. Inside are paintings by Asian American painter Dong Kingman and a biting pen-and-ink send-up of San Francisco society by caricaturist Ronald Searle titled "Morbid Anatomy of the San Francisco Society Lady."

 1959 (Issue?) Las Vegas; July 1962 Tribal America; December 1963 Florida; July 1963
Alaska; April 1963 Dublin; March 1964 Wall Street; February 1965 Palm Springs;
May 1964 Canada; October 1964 Germany; February 1966 New England Skiing;
July 1964 New York World Fair; July 1965 Reno, Nevada; September 1966 Casablanca
Morocco; December 1965 Hawaii; July 1965 The Catskills; January 1968 Hamburg Night
Life;  August 1968 Grand Central Station; September 1968 The Traveller's Club, Paris;
November 1968 Papa Doc, Haiti

Sunday, October 07, 2007


'Refugees selling rations to the local population' 
Aversa Refugee Camp near Naples, 14 November 1959

'Kallithea Camp, Athens' 1959
'As a film-maker, I find this drawing clever and exciting. Taken from a series of illustrations Searle did for a book called Refugees, 1960 to “promote awareness” of the state of world refugees, it’s a compassionate response to somebody’s pain and the dreadfulness of their condition. What’s great is the tension between the detail of the environment and the character. Learning about Searle at art school taught me that you have to have a clear overview or sense of the structure of a scene before you can work into the detail. Here, you get a tangible sense of the environment – bleakness, coldness, the poverty of it – and yet the tiny figure of the woman is such a strong presence. The detail of the character, the trees, is very clever. Each little thing balances the whole into a moment-to-moment filigree.'
Mike Leigh interviewed by Florence Waters for the Telegraph 2010

The Times December 31st 1959

‘Scilla Demeter / Hungarian child’.

Pencil. 13x9 inches. 

Inscribed by the artist:‘Karls (?)Kaserne Camp / Vienna Nov. 4th 1959’.

THE United Kingdom Committee has raised four million pounds for World Refugee Year —twice the amount originally aimed at—and no thanks to the British Government, which con- tributed a measly £200,000. But there are still 110,000 refugees left in Europe alone, most of whom have been in camps for the past fifteen years, with little hope of anything better, and their needs will not end with the end of World Refugee Year, which is now very close.  So there is every reason to help them further by spending half-a-crown on Refugees 1960, 'a report in words and drawings,' by Kaye Webb and Ronald Searle, published this week by Penguin Books, who are forgoing their profit on the venture, as are the paper suppliers, printers, bookbinders and booksellers, so that all proceeds, after the bare cost of production, can go to the United Kingdom Committee.  Author and artist visited a number  of refugee camps in Austria, Italy and Greece last winter, and they have been moved by what they saw and heard to do their best work : the tot is instinct with pity and irony, and in the drawings of refugees it is the eyes that haunt the reader, as they must have haunted the artist.  All We can do individually is to contribute our half crowns; it would be easy, though. especially in 'these prosperous days of full employment  for 'British and Commonwealth governments to do more than that and open their doors a little less grudgingly. Kaye Webb writes : 'New Zealand wants to know if' we have corns.' one woman told me, and suddenly in the midst of our laughter I realised she was crying. Other inquiries on the medical questionnaire for many large countries of possible emigration include requests for information on 'the specific gravity of urine,' and whether the applicant has ever 'suffered from chilblains.

From The Spectator 14th April, 1960

'Drawing of Mrs. Tanzel' Refugees, 1960
Sheet: 14 1/4 x 17 1/2 in. (36.2 x 44.45 cm)