Bill Shields

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

Ann Thompson

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.

Ann Thompson

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.

Dick Moore


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.

Ann Thompson

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.

John Hyatt