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GLUYAS WILLIAMS

 

PEOPLE OF NOTE 1965
THE RACONTEURS, THE NEW YORKER 1938

 

MY FIRST SCREEN

 

LIFE feature "WASHINGTON AT WARTIME" 1942
CM LECTURE ON THE NEW YORKER
CM LECTURE ON LINE DRAWING FOR CARTOONS

 

THEMES

INDUSTRIAL CRISES
CLUB LIFE IN AMERICA
LITERARY RENEGADES
AMERICA'S PLAYGROUNDS

 

SINGLES

READING PUBLIC
WRITING PUBLIC
THE INNER MAN

 

Gluyas Williams (1888-1982) had been art editor of the Harvard Lampoon, always a good career path, particularly after his first contact with Robert Benchley all of whose books Williams was to illustrate. Williams trained in Paris at Colarossi's, accounting perhaps for his incisive figure drawing throughout his career. He returned to the States as Art Editor of Youth Companion and joined the Boston Globe as cartoonist. The New Yorker started in 1925 but Williams initially preferred LIFE magazine (the title's first, comic incarnation) producing writing as well as drawings. Incensed by a later refusal by The New Yorker to take one of his drawings, he lectured the editor severely on the nature of visual humour, a lesson Harold Ross was quick to absorb. From 1930 Williams contributed several series of drawings on themes (see above) always reproduced carefully on the full page. Associated with the Algonguin set, his first book of drawings was published in 1929, initiating a career as an illustrator lasting until his retirement in 1953. Although associated with the Smart Magazines, he produced daily newspaper cartoons syndicated by Bell from 1922 -1947. His papers are lodged in the Syracuse University Library.

Edward Sorel writes, "The pen-and-ink technique he used to record his observations owed much to the work of Aubrey Beardsley. At first it is difficult to see what Beardsley’s erotic, serpentine illustrations have in common with Williams’s open, sunny drawings, but the use of solid black shapes in an otherwise delicate line drawing is common to both. In fact, Williams was so in awe of Beardsley’s work that he never used white paint to correct a line, because he believed (erroneously) that Beardsley never “whited out” mistakes".

I admire his capacity of drawing unmodulated black masses that are so acutely drawn at the outine, that they seem to contain the most complicated of structures. Things he draws well:

tuxedos

fleshfolds

facial reactions

architectural space.

 

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