Friday, June 01, 2012


In 1928, Gruger was assigned by the Saturday Evening Post to illustrate a long and tedious detective story.  Rather than draw another dozen pictures of English gentlemen sitting around tables in a parlor, Gruger concoted a wraith-like apparition (not a character in the original story) to embody hidden mysteries. 

Personally, I think Gruger just felt like drawing a cool figure in flowing robes.  Look at how much fun he had with these  pictures:

Another illustration from the same story:

I don't have all of the originals from the story to scan (The two above came from our friends at Taraba Illustration Art ) but if you look at the following printed versions from the Post, you can get a sense for how Gruger drew each wraith distinctively, each with its separate dramatic flourish:

These are not your run-of-the-mill Halloween ghosts.  Here you are seeing Gruger's vivid imagination in action.


Blogger Scott Quick said...

I was completely unaware of this artist- I'm so glad you're posting these.
Frankly, I've always felt that the turn of the century artists had an unfair advantage with regard to the fashions popular at the time. Staging a composition has to easier with characters wearing jodhpurs and bustles and starched collars, etc. Let's see a Gibson or a Leyendecker make hay with shorts, crocs and a XXXL t-shirt!

6/01/2012 2:09 PM  
Blogger chris bennett said...

Clearly the writhing forms of the robes were what was occupying Gruger's plastic imagination at the time - they are the best parts of nearly all these drawings.

The more I look at his work, the more I'm feeling his was a Baroque imagination. A sort of Bernini of the illustration world.
Apart from the Baroque component, the fact he was so comfortable with the restricted means of the graphite pencil, makes me think he could have been a sculptor of the first rank had circumstances been different - a breed similarly at home with a fundamentally puritan means of making; the chisel, the homogenous medium – the pencil, the paper.

6/01/2012 2:49 PM  
Anonymous MORAN said...

These pictures are the bomb. Best ghosts I've seen in years. I see what you mean about losing a lot in the printed version.

6/01/2012 3:58 PM  
Blogger Micah Champion said...

Beautiful pencil work. Maybe, Gruger just needed an excuse to practice drapery? Drapery is very dramatic.

6/01/2012 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Gonzalez Villalba Mariela Concepcion said...

great work, i like your art.. really beautiful, so good...

6/04/2012 5:42 PM  
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6/28/2012 8:38 PM  
Blogger Susan C. said...

Wow! My soul is simultaneously crushed and transported by such amazing work! Thank you so much for maintaing this blog! ^_^

7/06/2012 3:19 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Susan C-- That's great, Susan. Thanks for your reaction.

7/06/2012 4:25 AM  
Blogger WHERESMYRB said...

sorry to be an uninformed wretch but The first name of the artist isnt mentioned, is it simply gruger of is there a first name??

5/30/2014 6:44 AM  

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