We have previously posted collections of Willi Baum and Dick Moore and most recently, some of Earl Thollander’s Chinese cooking illustrations.
Here is a showing of Bill Shield’s commercial art from the years: 1961 to 1975
Now, examples of his fine art (with views of his workspace-easel with art in progress).
Bill and family lived on Pine Street in San Francisco. In time, by re-building the home, it became the “Artists Inn” – with warm B&B hospitality and it was decorated with Bill’s paintings.
Bill also remodeled the building at the rear of their property. It was Bill’s studio and originally had spaces for other artists. Later, it also became an addition to the inn that welcomed visitors to San Francisco.
Show 3‑Artists Inn 1, 2 & 3
The 4 Caballeros (Part 2)
1962 The San Francisco Examiner PICTORIAL LIVING. When three of the four artists returned to San Francisco, their sketches inspired paintings. The San Francisco Examiner’s headline “How Six Bay Eyes Saw Mexico” did not include the fourth artist, Willi Baum. Because at that time, Willi was back in Mexico, in San Miguel, where he was designing a mural there. So Willi was not shown in the photo with the Examiner’s story.
Sept/Oct 1962 Communicating Arts Magazine
Here also, are six pages showing the art and it includes the written comments from the artists. (The sketch that you see at the bottom of each page was a fifteen-foot long, 360-degree drawing that Earl Thollander made as he viewed the complete row of buildings surrounding the open square where the artists were sketching.
On November 7, 1962, there was an exhibition of sketches and paintings that were a result of the trip. It was held at the Art Unlimited Gallery in San Francisco. The gallery was accessed from the ground floor and then a strait staircase down to a basement. Willi had recently returned from San Miguel, but on the night of the gallery show, he appeared in a wheelchair at the top of the long flight of stairs. The crowd showed concern about Willi’s condition and worried how he planned to get to the lower level. Then, following his plan in “making an entrance” he stood up from the wheelchair and casually descended the stairs!
Not long after that occasion, Bill established a studio in New York. As a member of the Society of Illustrators, there, he received and awarded award of merit with his painting developed from one of his sketches from the trip in Mexico (the last of the images that you see above). The four amigos, together Other sketch trips followed. Each of the four produced more and more paintings, beyond their commercial work.
Bill Shields – Friend And Artist
I first met Bill when he appeared in San Francisco in 1960 and came to my studio on the recommendation of a teacher, Marty Garrity, who taught cartooning at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in Chicago. Bill studied there during the years 1945 to 1946 and I was there from 1948 to 1950. Marty kept tabs on most of his students and I’m sure he helped many to get together later when an opportunity came up. Bill’s arrival in San Francisco was smashing! He had no problem in captivating his clientele with his stunning design and artwork. His illustrations were appearing everywhere and his swift execution kept him busy. He was up to the demand and never disappointed!
I was living in Mill Valley and Bill soon moved his family there. He and I, for a time, commuted into the city in his Porsche. We brought our families together on camping trips where we sketched. Bill brought his talents into play designing and finishing his home to his standards. We often sketched together in the city and managed many weekends traveling with other artists, sketching and painting in the Gold country and along the northern California coast. For two weeks in 1962 our artist friends, Earl Thollander and Will Baum, joined us on a trip to Mexico where we visited the west coast town of Guaymas and then we traveled southeast to an old cobblestone town named Alamos. This is where we spent most of our time sketching and enjoying the great differences from our lives in the Bay Area. On our way back north we visited the Joshua Tree National Park. Willi set his camera’s timer and staged this photo. Here are three quick sketches that I made of Bill.
After our return, we prepared a gallery show in San Francisco of paintings developed from some of our work accomplished there in Mexico. During our stay in Mexico I renewed my aversion to the American Cockroach, which were plentiful there. My fellow artists decided to capture one and put it in an envelope and tucked it under my pillow. The scratching sound alerted me to their joke. Bill addressed some of his many envelopes, without roaches, that I received though the years as “Dickaroacha”. Many years later in Hawaii, I overcame the aversion, and lived with many such creatures.
I was always amazed that Bill’s embellished envelopes actually made it to my mailbox. His collection had a few of mine, like this last one that you see above.
In late 1962 (after the gallery show) Bill moved and worked in New York for quite a few years and in 1975 he returned to San Francisco where he established his Artists Inn studio where he painted. He also taught at various academies in the city and Bay Area. Lucky students! My return from Hawaii to San Francisco in 1982 gave us a chance to catch up and enjoy each other’s company and families, once again. Many lunches and partying happened through the years and an occasional sketch trip was always a joy.
“The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook” (by Gloria Bley Miller). Artist: Earl Thollander Known for the many books that he wrote and illustrated while drawing on location, Earl Thollander created a most masterful collection of a specific culinary technique. The collection was first printed in 1966. It had a hard cover and 926 pages of recipes – instructions and illustrations. Earl created the 400 illustrations – he described his method as “sitting at great number of locations, right on the sidewalk in the bustle of San Francisco’s Chinese communities”. There were also illustrations of areas in China and a complete study of the cooking tools and products – so much a part of described cuisine. The book was reprinted through the 1960s, ’70s,’80s and ’90s with each with a different cover. The white cover seems the most compatible with the enclosed artwork. Even the softcover version in 1984 weighed over three pounds.
Earl Thollander Illustrations
“Sunset Recipe Annual, 1995 Edition” Artists: David Broad and Alice Harth. This, a 256 page, hardcover book, includes an abundance of (289) beautiful photographs and the artistic touches of David Broad and Alice Harth. The book offers no printed credits to artists and photographers. Names were printed tight to the photographs and David placed his name in his art and Alice signed with her initials.
David Broad, who’s other art styles have been featured in a past Geezer Gallery posting, was the artist bringing his unique humorous style to this annual collection of recipes. Here, below, are examples of just some of his15 illustrations in the book. Alice Harth, had a long association with Sunset Publishing Corporation. Alice presented 51 illustrations of the foods next to the written recipes. These illustrations required her to create a display of the food and she had to devise the setting for each, with appropriate decorative objects appropriate to the preparation and prepared foods. These renderings did not reflect her normal artistic style, but were realistic to aid in showing the 51 recipes – an alternative to the already extensive amount of photographs in the publication.
(Two examples of Alice’s recognized individual style are shown here, also.)
David Broad Illustrations
Alice Harth Illustrations
Sunset’s “Gifts from Your Kitchen”, first printed in 1988. Artist: Dick Cole. Dick Cole was known for his fine art and commercial watercolor paintings. I was surprised to see that there were some of his illustrations in this Sunset book. Besides the decorative illustrations, Dick had the ability to show cooking procedures. Drawings that show precise methods – -“hands-on” visual instructions are often a necessary part of a recipe and not an example of style so much as the need to show a clear depiction of a procedure.
Dick Cole Illustrations
A Raisin Recipe Booklet
Above also is a quite unusual booklet of recipes created by the agency, J. Walter Thompson Company. They had the California Raisin Advisory Board as a client. I am guessing that was in the early 1970s.
Here, above, are some pages of the simple (12 page plus cover) collection of recipes. The intro tells “The history of the little raisin”. The main expense for this simple booklet had to be purchase of the tiny velum envelopes and plastic magnifiers, the printing of the tiny label reading: “RAISIN” and the handling, stapling it all to the inside cover of the folder. The five illustrations in the booklet were very simple line art. There is no reference about the artist and I do not know the JWT art director on this project.
A Letter, With The “Rest Of The Story”
We had a previous story about Alvin Duskin who stepped away from creating women’s wear and into San Francisco politics. I seem to remember from those days, that if he had not made such a fuss about the height of the planned Transamerica Pyramid, the building would have been taller than it is now. (Also more streamlined, without the “ears” that stood out when the shorter design revealed the top of the elevator shafts.) William Pereira’s plans for the Transamerica Pyramid were changed. If the Pyramid were its original planned height – all four sides would be smooth and flat.
A 50-year update: (DEC. 29, 2017, A few lines from the NY Times, by David Streitfeld).
The protests had an effect. The Transamerica Pyramid was shaved down from 1,040 feet to 853 feet. A proposition in 1971 to limit buildings to six stories did not pass, but it was one of those defeats that is also a bit of a victory. The Transamerica Pyramid remained the tallest in the city until this year.
John Hyatt wrote to me to introduce himself and he added more to the story of that time.
Thank you for responding to my email about Sam Coombs. I find the “Geezer” site to be overwhelmingly nostalgic. Also, your advertising art collections and knowledge about what went on in San Francisco in the 50s, 60s and 70s, is extraordinary. If I am reading things correctly, you seem to have been in an office at one time in Belli’s building, just across from Wilton, Coombs and Colnett on Hotaling Place. I worked at WCC as an art director fresh out of Art Center School for seven years, 1968 — 1975. Lowell Herrero did a few illustrations for me that were wonderful… typical Lowell. I didn’t realize that he had an office so close to mine, perhaps he had move by the time I arrived at WCC.
Reading some of the recollections on the Geezer site, that I assume you wrote, I ran across the mention of Alvin Duskin. You may find a little story something of interest to add to your history of San Francisco. Duskin was a client of WCC when I first started working there, but quite unexpectedly, he quit his dress making business for what we were all told was his desire to enter politics. The company was bought by a fellow named Paul Maris. I did several ads for Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily for Maris — attached is my comp and a proof of one of my favorites for Hubba Hubba (just what you need, more clutter for your collections, sorry). As this story goes, headlines in the Examiner and Chronicle one morning exposed Paul Maris as a fictitious person whose real name was Gerald Zelmanowitz, an informant for the Federal government in a case against some New York mobsters. Duskin’s company was purchased as a witness protection guise to protect Maris/ Zelmanowitz and his entire family. With Maris’ identity exposed, the entire company disappeared in the blink of an eye — a WCC’s account person went to the Maris factory, south of Market, to discover virtually everyone gone… doors unlocked, lights burning, phones ringing.
The attached ad was done by photographer, John Peden. The Hubba Hubba double knit dresses looked so awful when worn by the models that we just had the girls hold the dress up as though they were looking in a mirror.
The bright colors and graphic shape made a splash against the model, reduce to gray tone (some custom four color masking done by Walker Engraving). The dresses sold like crazy. John Peden’s wife, Barbara, ran into Maris months later at a restaurant out in the Avenues one afternoon. Barbara had been working with the Maris company as a designer. A fleeting hello was the last we ever heard of Paul/Gerald.