It seems unfair to his legacy not to offer his landmark images some more space. After all, Brooklyn-born Penfield popularized posters in the States, played a key role in establishing New Rochelle as an early arts colony and was art director for Harper’s Weekly during a seminal period in American publishing
So here, in honor of Penfield and the path he forged for future illustrators, and in no particular order, are 23 of his illustrations, all sourced from the Library of Congress, which has a ton of other ones, too.
Some things that caught my eye: similarities between his style and two other artists, contemporary JC Leyendecker and current master Alex Katz; the self-possession of his women; and the sex appeal of his men.
(And for more Found in the LOC, click HERE.)
Waiting for wind and tide, 1906:
2. Picnic under a fir, 1884-1925, probably closer to the 1880s…
3. At Cafe Spandaar, 1902:
4. Woman at table with umbrella, 1910-1925:
5. Sketch for 1915 Pierce Arrow Auto ad:
6. Woman removing jar lid while cat watches, est. 1913:
7. Man at rooster-adorned desk, 1910-1925:
8. Man sitting on couch, 1900-1925:
9. Dated 1900-1925, this image, of an ankle-bearing woman – gasp – looming over a football match, is called “The Overshadowed Game”
10. Man about to drive a golf ball, 1890-1920:
11. The Farmhand, 1884-1925:
12. The Lacrosse Player, done for an issue of Collier’s, between 1884-1925, and reminds me of JC Leyendecker’s work:
13. Football player, 1913, has quite a trim figure…
14. Sailor and officer, 1917:
15. Woman playing tennis, 1902:
16. Golfers, 1902:
17. Dated 1913, this image is entitled “Man and woman in sport clothes.” I like to think it’s a gay guy and his gal pal gossiping…
18. Man and woman sitting on blanket, 1910-1925. Note that his head is a replacement… Guess the first guy didn’t work out?
19. This image, called “Girl holding tea pot and cup on tray,” is probably my favorite and reminds me of later artist Alex Katz’s work.
20. “Woman sitting on fence holding flowers,” 1900-1925, is also pretty damn great.
21. Estimated to be from 1902, this image of man waiting for a carriage was a Collier’s cover as well.
22. This musical trio, from year unknown, is pretty groovy.
23. An undated image called “THEY AFTER ME” seems like a good one to end on.