onsdag 20 november 2013

A great dame passed away

On Tuesday November 19, Diane Disney Miller sadly passed away at 79 years of age. She was the eldest and sole surviving daughter of Walt Disney. Lately she had been deeply occupied with the creation of The Disney Family Museum in San Fransisco.
Diane Disney Miller, 1933 - 2013
In November 17, 1956, Saturday Evening Post published the first in a series of articles by Diane Disney Miller, My dad Walt Disney. Being a former employee at Disney's studios, Gustaf Tenggren was asked to paint the cover.
Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, November 17 1956
The original painting is said to have been offered  by the Saturday Evening Post as a gift to Walt Disney, but it is not known if he accepted or not. Just recently, though, I heard that Diane Disney Miller had bought the painting for the newly built Family Museum. So it's where it belongs now. Alas, Diane Disney Miller will not be there to see it. As it happens, she passed away only two days later than the day and month of the publishing of this issue.

tisdag 19 november 2013

Gus goes Goose

In 1929 Gustaf Tenggren illustrated a compilation of Mother Goose for Houghton and Mifflin. It was meant to be a school book and contained a number of small educational tasks for the children to solve. The first version had a color front cover which was also used as a frontispiece, but the later editions had only plain B&W print.
Mother Goose book, Houghton and Mifflin 1929

This was the first of Gustaf's book that was paid by royalties, but certainly not the last one. The successful row of Golden Books were also made on a partial royalty basis and rendered a solid economic basis for the later part of his life.
After Gustaf Tenggren had left the Walt Disney Studios in 1939, he made a totally new version of the french classic. From earlier using delicate transparent water color washes, he turned to tempera colors which could be layered heavily and proved to stand over painting without bleeding.
The Tenggren Mother Goose, Little, Brown & Co 1940

The contrast was as clear as day and night and must have been shocking to the fans of Tenggren's old-style illustration style. But when The Tenggren Mother Goose was published in 1940, the critics were enthusiastic: "This is the best Mother Goose ever!", they claimed unanimously.
In Kerlan Collection there is yet another try-out cover design for the book. It is never published but seems to be made in the late1950ies.
Alternate Mother Goose cover, 1950ies.
Published with courtesy of Kerlan collection of
the University of Minnesota Libraries
with permissions from the Archives and Special Collections.
It's probably not made for Simon & Schuster's Golden Books, since Feodor Rojankovski already had made a Mother Goose for them. Possibly it was meant for a re-issue of The Tenggren Mother Goose but never realized.
The three covers with each some ten years between them describe the evolution of Tenggren's style through the years. It was made possible by his ability to adapt to the various designs of the current time, but never losing his draftsmanship which was deeply rooted in art history.

fredag 8 november 2013

Anna Tenggren

Anna Tenggren, first wife of Gustaf Tenggren. She was born Halmstad, Sweden.
Her brother Rudolf Petersson,  Gustaf's fellow art student and best friend,
was to become a well known cartoonist.
In 1932 he started to draw the still published Swedish comic, 91:an Karlsson. 
Gustaf Tenggren married Anna Petersson in 1918 on her birthday October 3rd. She was the sister of his best friend and fellow art student, Rudolf Peterson. In july 1920 Gustaf and Anna went to USA from Copenhagen on the emigration ship Hellig Olaf. They settled in Cleveland, OH, where Gustaf had already two sisters. The year after, her brother Rudolf accompanied them, starting a career as a cartoonist for the Cleveland paper The Bystander. Gustaf and Anna had lived in Cleveland for some two years when Rudolf met Asta, a Norwegian girl. Her best friend was Mollie Froberg who were to become Gustaf Tenggren's second wife.

Clipping from Cleveland Press, 1930.
The portrait received 2:nd prize in the spring
exhibition at Cleveland Art Museum that year. 
Portrait of Anna Tenggren, painted by Elmer Brubeck in 1930.
Published with kind permission from Bradley Brubeck.

As Gustaf Tenggren moved to New York City along with Mollie and Anna in 1923, the relation to Anna faded and they eventually separated. Anna Tenggren went back to Cleveland and worked for Elroy J. Kulas, the founder of a large steel company.
In 1936 she went back to Sweden and in 1945 she married to Åke Brink with whom she spent the rest of her life. 
Anna with car and dogs in Cleveland, 1930's.