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ART, English, Literature, Poem

Mac Harshberger : American Art Deco

Mac Harshberger

Two Nude Females

Frank Macoy ( Mac ) Harshberger
1900 – 1975

Mac Harshberger was a highly successful illustrator who is best known for his elegant, simplified forms in which positive and negative shapes are equally important and economy of line is the rule.   The drawings done in this mode were mostly executed in the 1920’s and 30’s after he had studied with Maurice Denis in Paris. Denis was associated with Les Nabis and helped to develop a rationale for visual abstraction. He was the first artist to write about the need to respect the flatness of the picture plane in developing design. His influence was important to Mac Harshberger’s development as an artist and, ultimately, Harshberger’s success in popularizing the sophisticated Art Deco style  in the United States.

Harshberger worked in other illustration styles also. This later drawing, dated 1947, still shows the economy of line but was obviously meant to communicate to a different public, possibly children.

He taught for many years at the Pratt Institute in New York and was a prodigious designer and artist. Numerous exhibitions of his drawings and jewelry designs were held including those at the National Gallery of Art, The San Francisco Legion of Honor, and the Wolfsonian Museum in Florida.  A book was published about his art:  An Elegance of Line- the Graphic Work of Mac Harshberger.

source: http://www.victoriachick.com

images: http://www.thomasreynolds.com

Mac Harshberger illustrations from “Madrigal and Minstrelsy” (1927)

 In her Author’s Comment prefacing
“Madrigals and Minstrelsy” (published  in 1927)
Juliet Raphael states:
“In this book I have endeavored to translate the words of the poets into music…

“… The music has been done only as a setting for the words — sung or chanted. To those who love poetry, and love to hear it read, chanted, or sung, this book is offered.”

Illustrations accompanying the poems are by Frank Macoy “Mac” Harshberger
(1900 – 1975).
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Harshberger studied art in Paris in 1921, settled in New York in the ’20s where he taught for many years at the
Pratt Institute.
"Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead"
The cover image ▲illustrates by Mac Harshberger “Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Princess: Home they Brought her Warrior Dead


Home they brought her warrior dead:
         She nor swoon’d nor utter’d cry:
All her maidens, watching, said,
         “She must weep or she will die.”
Then they praised him, soft and low,
         Call’d him worthy to be loved,
Truest friend and noblest foe;
         Yet she neither spoke nor moved.
Stole a maiden from her place,
         Lightly to the warrior stepped,
Took the face-cloth from the face;
         Yet she neither moved nor wept.
Rose a nurse of ninety years,
         Set his child upon her knee—
Like summer tempest came her tears—
         “Sweet my child, I live for thee.”

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frontispiece: “An Arab Love Song” by Francis Thompson
 “Laughing Song” by William Blake
“Song” by Christina Rossetti
“The Fifteen Acres” by James Stephens
“A Woman’s Last Word” by Robert Browning
“Music, When Soft Voices Die” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
“Matin Song” by Thomas Heywood
“Little Lamb” by William Blake
Sonnet XXIX by William Shakespeare
“The Song” by James Stephens
“The Fiddler of Dooney ” by William Butler Yeats
“Night” by William Blake
“Give A Man A Horse” (a.k.a. “Gifts”) by James Thomson
“Up-Hill” by Christina Rossetti
“Nurse’s Song” by William Blake
“When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats
source: http://learning2share.blogspot.fr/
Images from the legend of Tristan and Iseult, done in 1927


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