fredag 28 mars 2014

A date you can't refuse

During the nineties, when I trawled Ebay for all kinds of Tenggren art, I bought this great advertisement, cut from Saturday Evening Post. I have always thought it to be one of Gustaf Tenggren's most beautiful paintings, applying his fairy tale sense to a professional context, including one of his favorite themes throughout his career, the Arabian Nights motif.
Dromedary Dates advertisement, Saturday Evening Post Christmas issue 1929
So I was quite excited when I got an e-mail with some blurred iPhone photos and an inquiry from the owner. She had inherited from her father, who in his turn had saved it from being put in the garbage at a company cleaning. After a closer look I could confirm that it was indeed the stunning original for this ad. 
Original painting for the advertisement above, pencil and watercolor on Whatman artboard.
It's very rare that you see one of Tenggren's advertisement paintings. They seem to have been kept at the printer or hidden in the piles of art in the backrooms of the ad bureaus, as a lot of other great illustration art. So it's wonderful to see that an almost ninety year old painting has survived in pretty good shape. From Tenggren's order book we learn that this commission for Dromedary dates was ordered by Pedlar & Ryan Agency for Saturday Evening Post's Christmas issue 1929. It was completed in September 19th that year, and Tenggren was paid $650 for the job ten days later, September 29th. A sum Tenggren was accustomed to, being one of the top paid illustrators, just a decade after his arrival from Sweden.

Just a month later, at the 29th of October 1929, was the date of the Black Tuesday which started the depression and put a black cloud over USA for the next ten years.

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