Louis Macouillard, Location – Location
I never got to meet this fine San Francisco painter/illustrator who was known for his watercolor paintings, posters, menu covers, murals, stamp designs and more. Of French decent, he was born in San Francisco in 1913.
In the early ‘30s he attended San Francisco Polytechnic High School (1884−1973).
701 Frederick Street, across from Kezar Stadium, I show the two gymnasiums, as they are today and a photo showing the main building. Also, here is a Google photo, showing the distance between the two gyms, where the main building once stood.
I know three of my friends who schooled there in the late ‘40s and ‘50s. The photo of these friends in art class, are today’s artists: Norm Nicholson and Tony Calvello. The school offered a preparation for a career rather than requirements for an academic college.
By 1934, Louis was attending the California College of Arts in Oakland (which was renamed in 1936 as the California College of Arts Crafts). The history of this college goes back to 1902. Louis then studied study at the Art Students League in New York City.
Back in San Francisco, he opened his studio on Hotaling Place. He became art director for Velvetone Poster Company at the same location in Jackson Square.
Following the early procedures that put printed words on felt pennants, this poster company pioneered the high quality screen‐printing of a “poster”. Here is a photo of that pioneer poster company and the poster that Louis Macouillard created for them. The third showing is Hotaling Place, today.
Louis was a Lieutenant in the Navy during WWII in the South Pacific. Research stated that a spread of his paintings from this area of the world was shown in the October 18,1943 issue of Life Magazine. The cover, shown below, shows Ensign Louis Macouillard and Grace Harrison, who was an advertising copywriter in San Francisco. They had married in July of 1943 and they remained together until his death in 1987. Grace died in 2000. Nowhere on the web could I find the story in the magazine, so for $6.59 I bought a copy so that I could share it here. This issue had many advertisements of products known then and now, with illustrations from the very talented commercial artists of the time. Besides the British Pathé News in the theaters and the limited photos in newspapers, Life’s extensive photos covering WWII in many parts of the world was an extensive and current view of the war.
Here is Life Magazine’s story about Ensign Macouillard and reproductions of his paintings, on location, followed by a painting that he created near the ancient temple, Marea Tainuu on the island, Ra’i?tea, French Polynesia.
The last image is a remembrance written by Fred Meinke. Fred and Cal Anderson, (two of our SF advertising friends) also painted when “off‐duty” at a WWII location.
During the 1960s, Louis carried on the assignment of menu covers for the Matson Line. He followed three previous artists who had illustrated tropical scenes for the line’s voyages to Hawaii and other tropical Matson destinations. From the Macouillard collection, I show just three. There seems to be just one menu showing San Francisco.
Through the years, there are so very many examples of Macouillard’s fine art and commercial assignments found on the web (Louis Macouillard‐Images). I show a few well‐known examples and include some that are in private collections.
A few notes from the above collection:
The 1950s illustration “South Shore St. Peter’s Church Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Bermuda Afternoon” was one printed by Portal Publications, Ltd. (founded in 1954 in San Rafael, CA)
“Summer Fog” was one of four prints (date unknown) by Bohemian International Publishers, Ltd..
The Bank of America mural in San Mateo, CA.
BofA was formerly, The Bank of Italy in San Francisco. During the 1906 earthquake and fire, all funds were moved for safe‐keeping by A. P. Giannini to his home San Mateo.
This 1970s mural is a tribute to Mr. Giannini and that history. It was designed by Louis Macouillard. Glass tiles were set by Alphonso Purdinas.
Louis was a very skilled, life‐long yachtsman and he handcrafted one of the first trimarans to sail on San Francisco Bay. Besides their home on Russian Hill in San Francisco, the Macouillards also lived in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, another area of inspiration for his painting.
Louis Macouillard died on November 26, 1987 in San Francisco.