Artist: Bernie Fuchs (1932-2009)
Description: Three ages of women and cars
Comment: There are a lot of American Illustration collectors who really like Bernie Fuchs... artists in particular who just can’t seem to get enough of the analysis of how he did what he did. This particular piece, to me anyway, is something a little bit different. Since this came in on consignment a few months ago, I’ve been wrestling with the question of “Who are these women and what does the image mean?” More on that later. At first I speculated that this was an unfinished work and had simply been set to the side in the studio. But... such a conclusion would be inconsistent with his working methods, I think, in that the background passages are fully realized. My interpretation now is that this was likely done as a magazine story piece and published as you see it here. Remember that the history of graphic communication is largely a history of trying to catch the viewer’s gaze and hold it... to not look like every piece of similar communication that came before. The large circulation women’s magazines of the 1960s and 1970s were among the best practitioners of the pushing of graphic expectations. So, back to my question: On the right is surely Liz Taylor, instantly recognizable even without Richard Burton hovering. In center, a young Norma Jean Baker, right? And on the left... Hmmm, no idea really. If I knew that maybe it would tie the three together somehow. I imagine that among the legions of Fuchs fans out there, someone has the tearsheet and will happily share the information for the betterment of American illustration.