Category Archives: Illustrators

Remarks and info about artists

I Love You Sunday

I Love You Sunday

This nice cover is by the hand of Helen Van Doorn-Morgan. We couldn’t find much about this illustrator, apart from her other nice covers: she was born in 1902 (Springfield, Ohio) and lived until 1986. Her designs for sheet music were almost exclusively for Forster Music Publisher (Chicago).

With her highly stylised covers Van Doorn-Morgan is a forerunner of American Art Deco in sheet music during the Thirties, as seen in the work of Ben Harris and his wife Georgette (‘Jorj‘). This style appeared in America a few years later than its European precursor (which strictly made its debut with the 1925 Exposition internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris). Perhaps this time lag partly explains why the American Deco sheet music covers are mostly nice and pleasantly decorative. Often, European Art Deco music illustrations are more dynamic and forceful, but also frivolous and lively. See for yourself in our various Art Deco illustrated sheet music

We wish you a nice and pleasant Sunday!

Les plus désespérés sont les chants les plus beaux…

This striking and rather dramatic cover was illustrated by Pol Rab who is known for the two cartoon doggies Ric et Rac, later the title of a children’s magazine. According to Hergé they were inspirational to the creation of Tintin’s Snowy (or if you prefer Milou). But one inevitably makes the link with the famous dogs for Black & White Whiskey.

Ri-Rac-Milou

The song Pars gets its full flavour of self-pity and tragedy through Yvonne George‘s rendition. She is known for having lived the bohemian life in Montparnasse in the 20s, and the (often amorous) attention she got from intellectuals and artists such as Robert Desnos, Erik Satie, Henri Jeanson, Jean Cocteau, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen…  At the age of 33 Yvonne George died of tuberculosis in Genua, ravaged by the excesses of alcohol and drugs. Listen and weep!

 Pars sans te retourner
Pars sans te souvenir
Ni mes baisers ni mes étreintes
En ton cœur n’ont laissé d’ empreinte
Je n’ai pas su t’ aimer
Pas su te retenir
Pars sans un mot d’ adieu
Pars, laisse-moi souffrir
Le vent qui t’apporta t’emporte
Et dussé-je en mourir, qu’importe
Pars sans te retourner
Pars sans te souvenir

Portrait of Yvonne George, from a poster by Kees van Dongen
Yvonne George, poster designed by Kees van Dongen

Les plus désespérés sont les chants les plus beaux
Et j’en sais d’immortels qui sont de purs sanglots.

Alfred de Musset

Best are the songs most desperate in their woe —
Immortal ones, which are pure sobs I know.

Alfred de Musset translated by Emma Lazarus

Einar Nerman

Swedish matchbox illustrated by Einar Nerman

In Sweden the commonly found matchboxes carry an illustration by the hand of one of its finest illustrators: Einar Nerman (1888-1983). Nerman was very productive during his long life. He studied art in Stockholm and later also worked and lived in Paris, London and New York. He painted, designed costumes and sets for ballet, and

A ballet scene for which Nerman designed the costumes and the set
A scene from “Les vierges folles” (1920), from Les Ballets suédois. Costumes and set by Einar Nerman. Photo copyright the Dansmuseet, Stockholm. Source: Marc Arthur, Performa Magazine.

he illustrated magazines and books, amongst others for the works of his communist brother.  It is said that he also composed music and set the poems of his brother to songs. We haven’t yet found such songs.

Just married: Einar Nerman and his wife Kajsa in 1916
Just married: Einar Nerman and his wife Kajsa, during the Christmas season in 1916. (source: Swedish Wikipedia)

His short biography is on Wikipedia, but you will find much more about his work on Willy or Won’t He. Other delightful work is reproduced by 50 Watt, especially his fairy tale illustrations. Nerman was also a master caricaturist: have a look on the Drawger website.

Luckily for us Nerman started in  1913 to illustrate  sheet music covers for many years, mostly for Ernst Rolfs Musikförlags, but also for other publishers such as A.B. Skandinaviska, Elkan & Schildknecht, and Nordiska Musikförlaget.

Nerman-4

No doubt: Swedish design at its best!