Into the Pool with Eduardo

In this case, we are into the pool with the well-known Spanish fashion illustrator Eduardo Garcia Benito (1891-1981)

Vanity Fair, August 1929
Eduardo Garcia Benito

Aug29VanityFair

Condé Nast, a very famous publisher and the man who gave exposure (pardon the pun) to my favourite photographer Edward Steichen, met Benito and asked him to work for the company where he did many, many illustrations for Vogue and Vanity Fair depicting Art Deco sensibilities. Here he has drawn an image of the golden period a few months before the stock market crash of October which brought the long, long depression years.

Speaking of golden years, Benito was in Paris during the heyday of art there just before World War I, mixing it up with Picasso and Modigliani. You can see some of these influences in his work. This particular illustration is rather whimsical and cartoon-like, but some of his other covers were very artsy and stylized. His specialty was portraits, and he mingled in the high society and celebrity worlds, living between Paris and New York, painting Gloria Swanson and King Alfonso XIII of Spain for instance.

He left his home town of Valladolid at the age of twenty on a scholarship to train and study further in Paris, so he must have been noticeably talented even when young. Between the wars he continued working for the magazines, was interrupted by World War II, and after the war he did more work for them but gradually wanted to focus on his own work and choices and eventually moved back to Valladolid permanently in the early 1960s to concentrate on painting, portraits and even murals. He died in 1981 and would probably have been forgotten, at least outside of Spain, but for his magazine cover work.

Eduardo_Garcia_Benito

This is his self-portrait, which I wasn’t able to find a date for although I would guess from the suit lapels and the hanky and his age that it was in the mid-1950s or early 1960s. There is scant information on him apart from the magazine covers. I would love to have seen one of his murals, which were probably painted in this style, which seems very conventional compared to his work for periodicals. It’s capable but nothing that leaps out at one and says “Wow!” the way his cover designs do.

So today it’s about style, finding your own style, and also I can see that as people age they change, their tastes and interests change and they move and start over and it’s the natural way of life, the flow, the way it should be. Yesterday I spent three hours cleaning out cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, getting rid of more bags of things, inevitably moving toward change too.

A little digression at the end here because I think it’s important. With all the economic upheavals around the world, but particularly some recent scares in Europe, I found this post poignant and it gave me some real insight into how we make assumptions about groups of people instead of actually learning about what life is like for individuals.

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