A Westport Original: Walt Reed’s Illustrator in America

September 27th, 2013

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

This very special new WHS Exhibit, A Westport Original: Walt Reed’s Illustrator in America explores Westport art historian Walt Reed’s masterpiece, an encyclopedic treasury of 650 biographies and photos of America’s most talented and widely published artists and illustrators, 1860-2000.Per Walt and his editor son, Roger, the forces that unleashed demand and proliferation of American representational art (1860-2000) were the progress of printing technology, markets, training, themes, color, fashion and events. As Reed journeys through the incredible frontiers of illustration, he tracks parallel changes, decade by decade, in printing technology and artistic trends.

He also answers two grand questions: Where did the art come from? Where did it go?  The answer to both is “Everywhere.” Inspiration sprang from the world surrounding the artists: the grain in the fields, the fresh air in great forests, the mighty and serene waters of rivers, lakes and ponds, the mean and mild streets of big cities and small towns and their own imaginations.  And, day after day, the resulting artwork poured through America’s printing presses, into mass market newspapers, magazines, posters, libraries, movie placards, advertisement, book covers and pages, playing cards and stamps, commercial packaging, road side signs and museums, documenting and touching the lives of millions, for generations.

Curated by the WHS’s Brian O’Leary, and opening Friday, September 27, 5:30 to 7:30 pm with a reception and book signing by Walt Reed, this Mollie Donovan Gallery Exhibit is homage to a landmark in American art and illustration history and to the Westport artist and art historian who produced it.