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Our Highest Recommendation. Herbert Paus (1860-1944) is known best for his faultless draftsmanship, his sense of design, and his brilliant use of color. For many years he was a frequent cover artist for Popular Science, Woman’s Home CompanionAmerican Magazine, and Collier’s. He was a member of the government’s committee on pictorial publicity during World War I, and painted many effective posters to support the war effort. Paus also painted for such advertisers as Hart Schaffner & Marx, Goodyear, General Motors, Certain-teed, and Victor Records. Illustrated Press, 2021.

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Herbert Paus (1860-1944) is known best for his faultless draftsmanship, his sense of design, and his brilliant use of color. For many years he was a frequent cover artist for Popular Science, Woman’s Home CompanionAmerican Magazine, and Collier’s. He was a member of the government’s committee on pictorial publicity during World War I, and painted many effective posters to support the war effort. Paus also painted for such advertisers as Hart Schaffner & Marx, Goodyear, General Motors, Certain-teed, and Victor Records.

This new book presents a comprehensive overview — the first-ever — of Paus’ illustrious career, featuring scores of illustrations reproduced from original paintings as well as rare tear sheets and photographs. Paus illustrated just two  books during the Golden Age of Illustration: Maurice Maeterlinck’s  Tyltyl and The Children’s Blue Bird. Fred Taraba included him in Masters of Illustration: 41 Illustrators and How They Worked (2016).

Paus was a contemporary of Leyendecker, Schoonover and N.C. Wyeth, and was every bit as good. But not everyone can be at the top of the world of illustration, so as successful as he was (and he was prolific and widely admired in his day), today he’s not well known at all. The main reason is he was primarily a magazine cover artist and poster painter, both highly ephemeral today. His two books are both very collectible but that’s it on his book output.

Here’s more about Paus from publisher Manual Auad: When he was sixteen, Paus got a job at The St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper as a cartoonist and when the editorial cartoonist left the paper Paus took over as staff cartoonist. Two years later, in 1899, the 19-year-old Paus moved to New York and took classes at the Chase Art School of Art with legendary instructors; Robert Henri, George Bridgeman and F.V. DuMond.

By 1903, Paus decided to do freelance work and some of his clients were The Ladies’ Home Journal, Life, Delineator, National Review, St. Nicholas and others.

When the United States entered the First World War, Paus was one of the first artists to be chosen to do heroic and inspirational posters urging Americans to join up for service overseas.

During the war years, Paus illustrated many covers for Collier’s magazine, which at the time had a circulation of over a million copies a week. By the end of World War One he was already at the top of successful American illustrators. He was so popular that he had the luxury of choosing assignments that suited him. From 1927 to 1931 he had an exclusive contract to do all of the covers for Popular Science which was, again, one of the best selling magazines of its day. These covers often featured futuristic inventions in the tradition of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells: streamlined race cars, gyrocoptors, concept airplanes, submarines…Paus excelled at creating bold, realistic, and eye-catching images.

He might have been one of the great pulp illustrators — but he was already making far more money doing covers for the aforementioned widely popular general magazines. Look at his work for Popular Science though and you’ll immediately see he had the dramatic style perfect for pulp cover art.

Through it all, his extraordinary sense of design defined his work, and to this day, makes his work easy to identify, using unique perspectives and powerful framing.

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