Louis Macouillard, Location, Location

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 (18841973).

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.

Ann Thompson