This article appeared in the January 11th edition of
The Adirondack Enterprise
Mr. Will H. Low, the well-known American artist, was an intimate of Robert Louis Stevenson in art student days at Barbizon. As a tribute to the memory of his gifted friend he has made for members of the Robert Louis Stevenson Society a special bookplate.
The following from “The New International Encyclopedia” affords a survey of Mr. Low’s achievements: “Low, Will Hicock, An American illustrator, figure and genre painter. He was born May 31, 1853, in Albany, N.Y. His early education was interrupted by his ill health, but in 1870 he went to New York and for two years illustrated for different magazines. He went to Paris in 1873 studying with Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and later with Carolus Duran. His work was also influenced by association with Millet and other painters at Barbizon. Returning to America in 1877, he was elected member of the Society of American Artists in 1878 and Academician in 1890, and for a time was instructor of the life classes at the Academy and in schools of Cooper Union. In 1910 he delivered the Scammon lectures at the Arts Institute, Chicago, published under title ‘A Painter’s Progress’ (1910). He worked with a John La Farge in glass painting, and received a second-class medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889 and medals at Chicago in 1893 and Buffalo in 1901.”
“Low is best known by his illustrations for periodicals, his decorative work for public buildings and private houses, and for his stained glasses. He was one of the first to introduce light tones of the open-air school in American art. His work shows grace of line, delicate color, and good composition. His ideal subjects of gods and nymphs are painted with great charm of color reflections in light and shade. Among his works are ‘Portrait of Albani’ (1877); ‘May Blossoms’ (1888, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.); ‘My Lady’ (Lotus Club, New York); ‘Aurora’ (1894, Metropolitan Museum, New York); ‘The Orange Vendor’ (Art Institute, Chicago); ‘Christmas Morn’ (National Gallery, Washington); Among his decorations are ‘Mother and Child,’ stained glass windows (Rock Creek Church, Washington); 10 stained glass windows for St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Newark, N.J.; decorative panels in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York; and mural paintings in the Essex County Court House, Newark, N.J., the Lucerne County Court House, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (1908), the Federal Building, Cleveland, and St. Paul’s Church, Albany, N.Y. (1910); In 1914 he was engaged on mural paintings for the rotunda of the New York State Educational Building and for the Legislative Library in the Capitol at Albany. His best known illustrations are those for Keats’ Lamia and Odes and Sonnets. He is author of ‘A Chronicle of Friendships’, 1873-1900 (New York, 1908), a book of reminiscences, and many magazine articles on artistic subjects.”
Writing to the Stevenson Society of this design, Mr. Low has this to say: “You will see that I have been somewhat inspired in my design by that charming book, ‘The Penny Piper of Saranac,’ although it really goes further back than that, for I made it up of elements from my drawings for Keats’ ‘Louisa,’ which was dedicated to R.L.S. in 1885. The piping figure I then used for the colophon of the book and the escutcheon with Stevenson’s monogram formed part of the dedicatory drawing. I have thus, pardonably, I trust, sought to interweave my own personality with the design, and the background of Adirondack woods localizes it sufficiently. Will H. Low."
William Cameron Menzies , Bookplate Designer
|Note from Lew: The Film critic Jimmy Starr liked the Valentino|
bookplate by Menzies and had it altered for his own use.
Menzies's work on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) was what prompted David O. Selznick to hire him for Gone with the Wind (1939). Selznick's faith in Menzies was so great that he sent a memorandum to everyone at Selznick International Pictures who was involved in the production reminding them that "Menzies is the final word" on everything related to Technicolor, scenic design, set decoration, and the overall look of the production.
"Production designer" (which is sometimes used interchangeably with "art director") was coined specifically for Menzies, to refer to his being the final word on the overall look of the production; it was intended to describe his ability to translate Selznick's ideas to drawings and paintings from which he and his fellow directors worked.
Menzies was the director of the burning of Atlanta sequence in Gone with the Wind. He also re-shot the Salvador Dalí dream sequence of Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945).
In addition, Menzies directed a string of dramas and fantasy films. He made two sci-fi films: the 1936 film Things to Come, based on H.G. Wells' work that predicted war, the search for peace and technical advancement; and Invaders from Mars (1953), which mirrored many fears about aliens and outside threats to humans in the 1950s. "
I recently purchased William Cameron Menzies The Shape of Films to Come by James Curtis and I look forward to reading it.
Bookplate by Mr. Menzies for the producer John W, Considine Jr.
John W.Considine Jr,
Mr, Menzies' Daughter Suzie
Mr. Menzie's Cipher
I want to thank Edward Sotto III who sent me information about Mr,Menzies,
This is how a checklist begins, If you know of any other bookplates Mr. Menzies designed
please send information or a scan. Thanks,
Lew Jaffe [email protected]