Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Egon Schiele is in my opinion one of the best draughtsmen in history. I've been thinking about how when he was active around the early 1900s, that drawing was still a widely marketable skill. Though photography was growing in importance, drawings and illustrations were still dominant in newspapers and magazines. It's amazing that they used to send artists to draw sketches for newspaper stories as we send photographers out today. Vogue magazine was still using illustrations for their covers and featured drawing for inside the magazine too. Erté had multiple contracts to illustrate covers for Harper's Bazaar and Charles Dana Gibson's drawings defined the standard of feminine beauty for which he was accorded celebrity status and pay.
Before the advent of television and before the rise of the motion picture, I'd imagine painting and drawings were kind of a big deal and had a larger cultural presence and importance than they do today. They were what television and movies are to us today in a way, the primary visual media.
With such high stakes, celebrity and reward, the competition must have been great. And because of that produced some amazing drawing talent. Talent that was unique to it's time in history because of economic and technological factors, that will perhaps never be matched again.