Watercolor on paper drawing of a homey mid 19th century interior in America or England, measuring 9 1/8" by 11 5/8" as simply framed, the work signed "Sketch/Walter Richards" at lower right in white. This was probably preliminary art for a more finished drawing or painting by this well known freelance illustrator. The drawing contains a lot of detail for its modest size: five figures are about to eat soup from a cauldron at midday. A clock shows the time; a cat snoozes at the base of the chair; a ship model rests on the mantelpiece over the old fashioned hearth; a spinning wheel occupies the right foreground, and there is substantial other detailing of a typical interior of the period. Richards achieved prominence during the mid 20th century golden age of advertising and mass circulation magazines for his realistic artwork. A Cleveland Ohio native, he attended Cleveland School of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. While in Cleveland, he created prints for the Cleveland Print Club's Print-A-Month program. By 1936 the artist was in New York, where his skills were highly sought after by the Madison Avenue advertising community, which seemed to appreciate Richards' ability to show detail which highlighted the various products and showed them to best advantage. Richards studied lithography with the master lithographer Stow Wengenroth, and as a result he was able to create lithographs in black and white noted for the dramatic contrasts that characterized the works of Wengenroth. Over the years he created work for many magazines, including Life, Look, Colliers, Argosy, Reader's Digest, and Outdoor Life, among others. In suburban Connecticut's Fairfield County, with which he was associated in the latter portion of his life, Richards collaborated with illustrators Stevan Dohanos and Hardie Gramatky. Exhibitions of the artist's work were held at the Whitney Museum, Metropolitan Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, and at the Pentagon (the artist worked for the US Air Force for a time). A member of the Society of Illustrators and the American Watercolor Society, Richards was included in Walt Reed's definitive book "The Illustrator in America". The US Postal Service had him design no less than 37 postage stamps in the course of his career, including the stamp commemorating Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Waters" house. When the artist passed away at age 99 in the year 2006, a significant participant in the 20th century illustration scene was lost. Articles mention how Richards bridged "fine art" and the more commercial side of the art world. Condition: The work is in excellent condition. It bears an old framer's label from Burrison Art Galleries on Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia. Allow for some reflections (steep camera angles were the result of attempts to minimize reflections). See the net for much more on the long and distinguished career of this well listed American illustrator. .
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