Friday, August 26, 2011

Swiping Then and Now--3

Two Bites of the Same Apple

In earlier posts (this one and this one) I discussed the honored tradition of artists swiping one another's work. While digging through my scrap file for a job I stumbled across this pair of images.

The first is from a personal-hygiene ad of the late 1940s (being a clipping I've no record of the magazine or its precise date). It probably advertised either Listerine or Lifebuoy, depending upon the offending body part. The signature appears to read "Ric Kelly." I presume it was painted in greys, but there may have been a color version.The second image came from a comb-bound lithographer's sample book from the mid 1950s. I wish I'd kept the book intact rather than razor blading it! But that was decades ago...anyway, this was presented simply as an example of good color printing. There was no headline or copy, just the picture. It's signed "Jack Klay." I haven't been able to make out the date. It looks like "47" but that would place it right about the same time as the original. I suppose it could be "57."Two things immediately strike me. First, it's a remarkably close copy. The location and shapes of the folds in the jacket and blouse strongly suggest that it was traced (projected, pantographed, whatever). The second thing is that Klay's painting of the faces, which differ somewhat from the originals, suggests he was skilled enough not to need to copy someone else's work. What was the story?

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