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.
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://phcreative.com/historyvideo.html 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.
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 !