Jessie Willcox Smith was an American artist who signed many successful projects. She was a very successful painter in oils and watercolors, she created cards, calendars, magazine covers, posters, but her legacy lies in illustrations for children.
Many people claim Jessie Willcox Smith is the best illustrator of all times. While we can never agree with such an absolutistic view on something so subjective as art, it's absolutely indisputable she achieved more than most artists ever dreamt.
Miss Smith's art is very popular among collectors today. An original illustration can easily achieve several thousand dollars. But she experienced real success during her lifetime too. Working in one of the rare areas where women were allowed to compete with men, yet still frowned upon, she became one of the most wanted and best-paid illustrators in the world, with monthly paychecks exceeding yearly pays of otherwise still well-payed works by her colleagues.
What do we know about her? Where lies the secret of her success? Why are her works still attractive and radiant as a century ago?
Here are ten interesting facts about Jessie Willcox Smith to start with:
Do you own any of Miss Willcox Smith's works?
Tolovaj, Thank you for the fantastic images and fun facts.
In particular, I like the Cinderella calendar and the influence of Mary Cassatt on the Jessie Willcox Smith children, both realistic and somewhat idealized. My favorite of her book illustrations remains Robert Louis Stevenson's Child's Garden of Verses. The colors and composition show wonderfully in the image between fun facts 8 and 9, but I tremble over what was done to that pet turtle.
Thanks, Mira, for your comments and inputs. Yes, I intend to write additional post focusing on her books only. I also hope the problem with Amazon will be solved, so people could buy a piece or two as well.
P.S. As a suggestion, maybe it would be a good idea to also include some links to books in your articles.
Hi Tolovaj, what a great post! Your interest in all things fairy tale is invigorating. I find Willcox Smith's works rather intriguing. In some of her images she works with broader strokes and swaths of color than I would have expected. Part of it is probably the aesthetics of the times, a little after the tendrils of Art Nouveau.