Amado Gonzalez

We knew Amado Gonzalez as our very good friend. I am only finding out now of his full range of illus­tra­tion which gave him a cast of impor­tant (local) clients throughout his career. These were years when local busi­nesses, food and wine indus­tries completed all of their adver­tising needs in one place. Art studios, adver­tising agen­cies, lith­o­g­ra­phers, type shops and printers were all here. There was no faster service than within our local art commu­nity. The Society of Illus­tra­tors of San Fran­cisco (Amado was pres­i­dent in 1962) – ADASF, the Art Direc­tors and Artist Club of SF – and The San Fran­cisco Copywriter’s Club had members that worked and social­ized together.

Amado was born on September 13, 1913 in Guadala­jara, Mexico and following a five-​year stay in Mexico City he arrived in San Fran­cisco in 1927. He studied at the Cali­fornia School of Fine Arts (on a schol­ar­ship) as a muralist and portrait painter under Lucien Labaudt and Ray Boynton following the influ­ences of Diego Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros.
(Note : In the early ‘30s, Lucien Labaudt accepted the assign­ment from the Works Progress Admin­is­tra­tion, to deco­rate the walls and stairway of the Beach Chalet located along the Great Highway at Ocean Beach, -Top two exam­ples shown below.)

Coit Tower Murals – (New Deal Agency : Public Works of Art Project (PWAP)
Lucien Labaudt, “Powell Street”, 6’x32
Ray Boynton, “Animal Force and Machine Force”, 10’x36
Until 1938, Amado worked for the WPA – assisting Lucien Labaudt and Ray Boynton on the Coit Tower murals (above).

Amado had a one-​man show of his work at the SFMOMA in 1935 and had many awards from the Society of Western Artists. Following this, Amado painted murals for the San Fran­cisco Common­wealth Club and the Bank of America. Amado then became one of many top illus­tra­tors at the very large art studio founded in 1921 : Patterson & Sullivan – 1939 : Patterson & Hall.

This first photo, below : in the 1930s – shows Haines Hall creating an illus­tra­tion for an ad for Sperry Flour.
LtoR : Gib Darling, Alton “Jack” Painter, Amado Gonzalez, Stan Galli, Haines Hall.
Stan is the model. I’ve added a portion of the printed Sperry Flour ad that was being created at the time of this photo.
2nd : Amado, close-​up.
3rd : 1960-​March 31st-​Photo of Amado Gonzalez – Reno Evening Gazette announcing a showing of Amado’s oil paint­ings completed for the Bank of America.
4th : 1961- At the preview party of the “12th Annual ADASF Exhi­bi­tion” on the fourth floor of the new Inter­na­tional Building. Amado is lifted up to greet the wife of Exhi­bi­tion Designer, Dick Moore.
5th : 1962-​Amado pictured in ADASF newsletter (Gallery West”) preparing for the “Port­folio ‘62” preview party and show.
6th : 1969, At an ADASF event, Amado pictured, also Mildred “Sophie” Porter, illus­trator.
7th : 2000s Amado at a “Black Tie” event”

Now we show, in rough sequence, Amado’s major clients and the illus­tra­tions that he created for them :
Dates and assign­ments unknown. Art samples ? Line art : ‘30s ? Halftone:’40s, Color : ‘50s
1900s – Cali­fornian Inc., “Golden Gate Bridge”, “Top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel” –tourism
1930s – Southern Pacific Hotels – tourism
1930s – California-​Stanford Foot­ball Poster/​Program – sports (P&H created many in the 20’s – 60’s.)
1931 – 1941 – Stan­dard Oil – product
1946 – Amer­ican Pres­i­dent Lines menu covers – tourism
1950 – Santa Barbara, CA – tourism
1950s – Bank of America -18 Ads for Fortune and Time maga­zines – busi­ness
1960 – US Air Force – support
1960s – The Examiner/​Chronicle-​California Living Section (69 paint­ings for Sunday Supple­ment) Later pack­aged as a set of 28.) – publi­ca­tion
1963 – Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co.– busi­ness
1965 – 1968 – Cali­fornia Wine Advi­sory Board – product

Amado’s commis­sioned posters for the Cali­fornia Wine Advi­sory Board brought a lot of atten­tion to the new quality wines devel­oping in Cali­fornia, where up to then only low esteem jug wines were known.

From 1966 and on for 28 years, Amado was a part-​time instructor in the commer­cial art depart­ment at City College of San Fran­cisco. CCSF was the loca­tion of one of Diego Rivera’s major murals. Amado could often see the work of the artist that inspired him so many years earlier.

In 1972, Amado returned to painting portraits. 16 are at many loca­tions at UCSF Hospital and many are at private homes. He contributed his talents and was a member of the Family Club and the Bohemian Club.

Amado and Mary and family lived on Delmar Street, just a few blocks from Buena Vista Park. Mary was Greek– they were a lively couple. As salt and pepper can enhance a meal, these two added so much to any party or club occa­sion.
Memo­ries are wonderful. I see them, still.

Ann Thompson

Bruce Hettama added :
An inter­esting note, I inter­viewed Amado just before he passed away (at 94 years). He was still sharp as a tack. When he died his kids took over his house and tossed his port­folio in the DUMP ! Fortu­nately, an art student found it and they tracked me down. I bought one (bathing suit lady), and scanned all the others.

We credit : Bruce Hettama who created the website : P&H Creative Group.
(You can easily access the site at our link found at the column at the left, titled : Places We Like.) The video there, http://​phcre​ative​.com/​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​v​i​d​e​o​.​h​tml covers P&S’s and P&H’s adver­tising history in San Fran­cisco. We thank him for many of his personal scans of Amado’s orig­inal artwork and prints and for his support for the Geezers­Gallery.

Note :
Other than the images, sent by Bruce Hettama, the source of the other images that I have shown are from infor­ma­tive websites and online selling sources. Luckily, many posters and prints are avail­able !