A Wolfsonian Thanksgiving Illustration by Will Bradley
Today’s Wolfsonian–FIU library post comes to you courtesy of associate librarian Nicolae Harsanyi. Dr. Harsanyi is currently working on a library installation featuring graphic art and book bindings designed by William (“Bill”) Bradley and discovered an image appropriate for the current holiday. Here is his report.
The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection
Will Bradley (1868-1962) designed the cover of the November issue of the popular magazine Harper’s Bazar [sic!]. In its composition this image combines the two main features that defined Bradley’s artistic language in 1890’s America. The Arts and Crafts legacy of William Morris is perpetuated in the wide margin of dense intertwining floral motifs, while the central rectangle is occupied by the outline a woman and the title statement which are treated in Art Nouveau manner (undulating lines, two dimensional profile, interspersed with globular ornamental flowering trees). Two of the traditional elements of the imagery associated with Thanksgiving (cornucopia, turkey) are suggestively hinted at: the cornucopia is replaced with a voluminous sheaf which seems to slide out from the arms of the female figure, while the barely discernible bird in the background of the upper half resembles a turkey with its outstretched plumage.
A more detailed presentation of the contribution of Will Bradley to familiarize the American public with Art Nouveau graphics will be the theme of the next installation in the library foyer. It will open in January 2017. Until then,