Showing posts with label money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

political patrons

Commercial spot illustration, ca. 1960, magazine and article unknown. The theme is obvious: agriculture, broadcasting, and oil moguls attempt to steer public policy by channeling self-interest through a politician's bully pulpit. Pen & ink with black tempera on vellum with printer's markings.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A New Turn in Taxes

The above tempera on illustration board by Flora was recently purchased by a fabulous financial blogger. The Rube Goldberg-like catalytic pipeline originally appeared in the December 1964 issue of Fortune magazine accompanying an article entitled "A New Turn in Taxes."

Most of Flora's work-for-hire illustrations from the 1940s and 1950s cannot be located, having been kept (or disposed of) by client art directors. Judging by what's in the Flora family collection, starting in the late 1950s the artist began retrieving his creations after publication. Hundreds of commercial illustrations—some elaborate like "Taxes," others simple black and white spot illos—remain in storage. There's no way of knowing how many commercial illustrations Flora provided during his career—surely thousands, because that's primarily how he earned his livelihood. Despite his considerable legacy of fine art, it was topical deadline assignments that paid the mortgage and supported the family.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Great Freight Cartel

"The Great U.S. Freight Cartel" (detail), Fortune magazine, January 1957. The full original 14" x 5-1/2" tempera work was preserved by the artist and is stored—in great condition–in the Flora archives. It's one of the earliest extant original commercial illustrations in the collection. Of the hundreds of works-for-hire rendered by Flora for dozens of magazines during the 1940s and early 1950s, all that remain are periodical reproductions. From the late 1950s on, a sizable number of original illustrations and mechanicals were retained by the artist.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, February 9, 2007

government cheese

This three-tiered illustration appeared in the January 25, 1955, issue of Look magazine, accompanying an article by Fletcher Knebel entitled "The Welfare State is Here to Stay." It reappears in our new book, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora. The Nanny State storyline caught the attention of our friend, economics blogger (and Floraficionado) Donald Luskin, who asked permission to post it at

The original illustration has not been found, and most likely wasn't returned by the art editor to the artist—which Flora said was common in that era. Either industry practices changed or the artist asserted a possessive streak, because the Flora archive contains hundreds of his original commercial illustrations from the late 1950s on. However, the classic stuff from the 1940s and early '50s—probably tossed decades ago.