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O - ARTISTS
Wilhelm Oertel 1870-1933
Oertel was primarily a portrait and landscape painter but he illustrated postcards as well. His work has a somewhat subdued mannered look, more primitive than modern.
Hubert Olyff 1900-1977
While studying engineering at the University of Brussels, Olyff became interested in the arts. He moved to Paris in the mid-1920’s to try his hand at illustration but he met with little success. Returning to Belgium he pursued a career in the home heating business. He briefly served in the military during the Second World War, and during the period of German occupation he produced pen and watercolor drawings for the underground press under the alias Thil U. He would later become a war corespondent for La Meuse. Many of these illustrations and those of the British postwar occupation of Germany were reproduced as postcard sets under the pseudonym Bizuth.
Rose Cecil O’Neil 1874-1944
At the age of 13, O’Neil entered the Omaha World Herald’s children’s art competition and took first prize. Encouraged by this she was already supplying magazines with illustrations by 1889. In 1893 her father took her to New York City and left her in the care of a convent while she sought interest her drawings. Soon she was providing illustrations for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Truth, Ladies Home Journal, and Puck magazine whose staff she joined. In 1896 she also became the first woman to draw a comic strip, Old Subscriber, for True Magazine. In 1901, after her brief marriage to Gray Latham ended, she moved back to her family now living in Missouri. The following year she married Harry L. Wilson who was an assistant editor at Puck. Though they divorced in 1907, she illustrated the novels he wrote while they were married. By 1908 she began working in advertising, first with the Jell-O Girl, then creating characters for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Oxydol, and the Edison Victrola. The following year, her Kewpie character became an overnight sensation after appearing as an illustration in the Ladies Home Journal. This image was licensed out for use on all sorts of products including Campbell Soup ads and in 1912 German made Kewpie dolls. Begining in 1915, Kewpies were further popularized by their reproduction on countless postcards published by the Gibson Art Company. All of this brought her notoriety and fortune. In 1917 she was the first woman to join the New York Society of Illustrators, had expositions in Paris, and she was elected into the Society des Beaux Arts. During the great depression, O’Neil did not just loose her fortune, but she found it difficult to earn a living off a public that had grown tired of her work. She closed her New York studio for good and returned to Missouri in 1937. Her postcard illustrations had long been used to promote Women’s Suffrage, and now she put most of her efforts in promoting women’s rights.
Frederick Burr Opper 1857-1937
To help support his family, Opper dropped out of school at the age of 14 for a job at the local newspaper, the Madison Gazette. Two years later in 1873 he left for New York City and found work at a dry goods store. He briefly studied at Cooper Union and produced his first published cartoon for Wild Oats in 1876. This was followed by cartoons in Scribner’s and St. Nicholas magazines, and in 1880 he joined the staff at Puck. Opper became well known for his social and political satire, which made its appearance in a number of comic strips such as Alphonse & Gaston, And Her Name was Maud, and Howsan Lott. His most popular strip was Happy Hooligan drawn for the New York Journal between 1900 and 1932. Many of these cartoons appeared on postcards, especially as newspaper cut-outs published by the same papers they appeared in. By 1934 Opper’s failing eyesight forced him to give up drawing, and he retired to his home in New Rochelle.
Emil Orlik 1870-1932
Orlik began to study painting at the Munich Academy in 1891, but he left after two years finding it too conservative for his modernist leanings. He then began exploring different forms of woodblock printing, which led to a job at Jugend magazine. In 1898 he began what would be the first of many trips abroad. By 1899 Orlik was exhibiting with the Vienna Secession, and within a year had his first prints published. He set up a studio in Vienna in 1904 but moved to Berlin soon afterwards when appointed the director of graphics at the Academy Museum of Applied Arts. Long fascinated by Japanese woodblock printing, Orlik made his first visit to Japan in 1904 to study the technique first hand. This would have a lasting influence on his own graphic work in a variety of techniques, which he applied to the design of bookplates, posters, and postcards. His mastery of portraiture helped him obtain the position of official artist to the Best-Litovsk peace conference in 1917. He would continue to draw many notable figures in the years that followed, often in conjunction with his new obsession with photography. Orlik died of a heart attack two years after retiring from the Academy.
Alfred Ost 1884-1945
Ost was a painter and illustrator that studied at the Antwerp Academy. His work has a highly graphic style influenced by Art Nouveau and Symbolist poetry. Between 1907 and 1914 he produced numerous postcards that often depicted Amsterdam. As a pacifist, Ost moved to neutral Holland during the First World War.
Anna Petrovna Ostroumova-Lebedova 1871-1955
Ostroumova studied at the St. Petersburg Academy and more informally abroad, especially in Paris in 1898. She returned to St. Petersburg the following year where she joined World of Art (Mir Iskusstva), In 1905 she would marry Sergei Lebedov. Ostroumova was best known for her watercolors and color woodcuts depicting scenes in St. Petersburg. Many of these images were placed on postcards. She also had a career as a book illustrator, which continued well after the Revolution. The diary she kept during the siege if Leningrad during World War Two was published as a popular book.
Eugen Oswald 1879-1960
Oswald primarily worked as a painter with a studio in Munich. He also created many illustrations for postcards, posters, and the magazine Jugend in a highly stylized manner.
Wenzel Oswald 1883-Unknown
Oswald attended the Graphic Education and Research Institute followed by studies at the Vienna School of Applied Arts between 1906 and 1911. In addition to his illustrative work he became a designer of jewelry, glass, and books. He also designed postcards for the Wiener Werkstätte, which may include two unattributed cards. Nothing is known about this artist after 1934.
Richard Felton Outcault 1863-1928
In 1878 Outcault moved to Cincinnati to attend the School of Design at MaMicken University. After graduation he found a job as a technical illustrator for Electrical World, a Thomas Edison publication, and soon found himself at the Paris Worlds fair as an Edison representative. In 1890 he moved to Flushing, New York and began working as a comic artist for Truth, Judge, and Life magazines. In 1894 his Hogan’s Alley cartoons began appearing in Joseph Putlizer’s Sunday World, and within a year it became the first comic series to be printed in color. Outcault’s defection to Hearst’s Morning Journal in 1896 to draw the Yellow Kid caused much legal wrangling between the two papers, and for awhile there were two Yellow Kid strips running. There also remains much controversy over where these strips actually stand on a list of firsts. In any case Outcault was a true pioneer who helped lay the foundation for comic strips. Many readers did not like the Yellow Kid, which they felt had a corrupting influence on youth, so in 1902 he created the mischievous Buster Brown for the New York Herald based on a neighborhood child. After the strips syndication, Outcult felt cheated out of royalties and left in 1906 for Hearst’s Morning Journal where it ran as Buster Brown and his dog Tige. The Herald continued to run Buster Brown, now largely drawn by William Lawler until 1921. Seeing the financial possibilities in this character he formed the Outcault Advertising Company of Chicago in 1909, which licensed out the Buster Brown image for products and reproduction. It was used by a number of firms, but none so memorable as the Brown Shoe company. Ever since 1905 his popularity led to the use of his images on comic postcards as well as holiday cards. After retiring, Outcault turned his company over to his son, and he became a painter of portraits and landscapes.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite 1888-1960
Born Ida Rentoul Sherbourne. She illustrated her first book, The New Idea in 1903, which just happened to be written by her sister Annie. They would collaborate on a number of children’s books together as the Rentoul Sisters. This was an unusual arrangement as Annie would write her stories around Ida’s pictures. Ida married Granbry Outhwaite in 1909, and they had four children together, who she would come to use as models. While most of her work revolved around fairies, her imaginary landscapes were populated by local flora and fauna giving her work an exotic edge over other illustrators. While she continued to work after World War One, her watercolored pen and ink drawings began to look old fashioned and her popularity declined. Many of here illustrations were placed on postcards by A. & C. Black of London.
Charles H. Overly 1900-?
Overly created landscape paintings and drawings in a realistic style from his studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Many of these drawings were used to create posters and postcards during the 1950’s and 60’s, most notably for the Williamsburg Restoration Society. His work tends to have the sense of immediacy of place.