torsdag 10 mars 2016

Jack Sprat and his wife - a perfect match

The Mother Goose book was one of a number of readers that the teacher in English, Emma Miller Bolenius, wrote for Houghton Mifflin during the 1920ies. The book was "A Work and Play Book for Silent Reading", as the subtitle said. This Tenggren book has previously been presented here.

Emma Miller Bolenius: Mother Goose Book 1929
The first version had a pasted-on front cover,
also used as a frontispiece.
Emma Miller Bolenius: Mother Goose Book 1929
The following copies had an alternate,
line-drawing front cover printed on the cloth.
The inlays were identical.

The three various versions of the well-known verse about Jack Sprat and his wife make up another great example of how a well-known popular theme has been illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren at various times, resulting in different styles. The earliest one from 1929 adapts to the line drawing style of the previous readers in the series, but also owes a lot to the style of the English artist W. Heath Robinson.

Jack Sprat, Mother Goose Book 1929
For an advertisement in Saturday Evening Post in 1935, Gustaf has used his well established and sought-after traditional fairy tale style, resembling of Arthur Rackham's. This is the year before he joined the Disney Studio, and this may be one of the very last examples of this type.
Jack Sprat used in an advertisement in Saturday Evening Post 1935
 The last illustration on this theme comes from The Tenggren Mother Goose in 1940, a year after his leaving Disney. Here, Tenggren has adopted a totally new approach, using tempera colors. The stringy line drawing is gone and the surfaces are treated as flattened colorful forms, assembled to build up the painting. This would be the style used for the remainder of Tenggren's post-WWII books.
Jack Sprat, The Tenggren Mother Goose 1940