WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2011
From 1958 comes this point-of-sale lunch-counter card, the original measuring 17 by 12 inches with an easel-type flap on the back to prop it up. The design is a reductive masterwork of suggestive psychology, a representation of delicious food with a minimum of verbiage: CHEESEBURGER DRINK COCA-COLA.
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011
After a marathon two-day session of scanning, we've imaged two of the original pieces of artwork given to us by Chrysler Corporation artist Larry Baranovic, who died last year at the age of 90. The first is an illustration used in the 1957 sales catalog for the Chrysler 300C -- the green tailfinned rocketship shown below. The second, the white Chrysler farther down, is the painting that was used in the carmaker's 1955 Windsor Deluxe dealer brochure.
Both illustrations are gouache and airbrush pigment on artboard, each 23 inches wide. They are incredibly detailed -- click below on the 300C's headlights, its driver or her pipe-smoking passenger to enlarge. We're offering it in the Plan59 store as a special-edition fine-art print. Click here to order. (For an alternate version without text, click here.)
Technical details: The artwork was captured in eight sections using a Umax Mirage II flatbed scanner at a resolution of 1600 dpi. This resulted in a 1.2 gigabyte image file 34,000 pixels wide.
This was also an airbrush-and-gouache painting, used to illustrate in the inside front page of the 1955 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe sales brochure, as well as magazine advertisements. We're offering it in the Plan59 store as a special-edition fine-art print. Click here to order.
The technical details: The artwork was captured in 10 sections using a Umax Mirage II flatbed scanner at a resolution of 1600 dpi. This resulted in a 1.9 gigabyte image file 32,000 pixels wide.
The spirited, fun-filled mode of travel . . . debonair, casual and dramatically low, with the quiet power of a mighty new Rocket Engine and the smoothness of the thrilling new "Glide" Ride.
Chrysler's low-slung, high-finned 1957 offerings hit the General Motors styling department like a thunderclap; their success prompted a radical revision of the GM's tallish, narrow, chrome-bedecked cars, with the results making their debut late in 1958. From Chevy to Cadillac, the General's 1959 models set a new template for full-size American automobiles that would last until Detroit began downsizing in the late 1970s. The 1959 Oldsmobile, shown below, sported a new wraparound "Vista-Panoramic" windshield and "Twin-Boom" taillights.
Oldsmobile's "Linear Look" is presented in its most elegant form in the spacious models of the luxurious Ninety-Eight Series, bringing a new magnificence to the fine-car field. Distinctive styling smartness with "Glide" Ride and famous Rocket action are to be found in the five spectacular models of Oldsmobile's glamorous Super 88 Series . . .
These excerpts and illustrations come from the 1959 Oldsmobile dealer album, a loose-leaf binder of tabbed card-stock pages that was shown to prospective customers to illustrate optional equipment as well as explain the differences between the various models (some of which might strike us as inscrutably minor -- the junior "88" series cars had grilles of "anodized aluminum stampings," whereas the senior "98" grilles used "extruded anodized aluminum").
Oldsmobile's trim, modern "Linear Look" is strikingly exemplified in the new Holiday SportSedan, with its sleek, straight roofline and full wrap-around rear window -- a dramatic body style that is being offered in all three Oldsmobile series for 1959.
"Linear Look" was the Oldsmobile Division's catchphrase for the 1959 design's relatively flat planes and straight profiles. The intended (but unspoken) contrast was with the previous year's baroque curves, bulges and chrome curlicues.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2010
The automotive world lost a great talent, and Plan59 a good friend, with the passing last week of Larry Baranovic, who died on Friday at his home in North Carolina. Larry, who illustrated Chrysler Corporation sales brochures and advertising from 1954 through 1957, was a pivotal figure in midcentury automotive art and had a distinguished career into the 1980s. He was a meticulous draftsman, skilled with the airbrush, a keen student of psychology, as well as an accomplished pianist and witty raconteur. His seemingly boundless energy belied his 90 years (he had just bought a new Escalade, and had a garage built to keep it in), so his sudden death comes as a shock to those who knew him -- a circle in which I was fortunate to claim membership.
Some time ago the telephone rang and a booming voice came on the line: "This is Larry Baranovic, the famous illustrator!" With that began a friendship conducted over the phone and through the mails, with frequent packages arriving from Charlotte bearing examples of his life's work -- brochures, tearsheets and some eye-popping original artwork that we'll be putting online over the coming months. We salute Larry for his towering talent, thank him for his great generosity, and bid a sad farewell to a real class act. Bon voyage, and job well done.
Below, Larry circa 1957 during his years with Ford Canada (click to expand), and below that, his cover for the Chrysler 300C brochure, whose many illustrations he painted in less than a week -- a "rush job" for which he billed Chrysler $35,000.
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