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Cinema & the Arts as Sermons: The Automotive Art of Leslie Saalburg


Leslie Saalburg Automobile Illustration
Leslie Saalburg Automobile Illustration

The are many artists that over their lifetime have a huge body of work and they often go unappreciated. Leslie Saalburg was one of those artists. he is largely forgotten now and there actually is very little biographical information about him. The article below is an excellent birography of his life.

Saalsburg illustrated cars and fashion and during his era was very well known and respected.


Leslie Saalburg – Fashion Illustrator Extraordinaire

"At the Gentleman’s Gazette, we strive to regularly provide remarkable fashion illustrations from a bygone era. These masterpieces, in their own right, were often published in magazines such as Esquire, Apparel Arts or the German Herrenjournal. In the US, artists like Laurence Fellows, Robert Goodman and Leslie Saalburg were certainly among the best fashion illustrators. While so many admire these old illustrations, hardly anything is known about the artists themselves. Today, we want to introduce Leslie Saalburg, his fashion illustration techniques, views, as well as his lifestyle.

The famous George Frazier once said of Leslie Saalburg, in a neat summary of his legacy, that “He has been both an influence on, and an example of, the best practice of the art of wearing men’s clothes”.

Leslie Saalburg
Leslie Saalburg

Leslie Saalburg was born in London in 1897 to American parents. His father was a political cartoonist for a San Francisco paper, as well as for The Chicago Examiner and The New York World.

As such, it does not come as a complete surprise that Leslie Saalburg was already drawing pencil sketches and cartoons of elegant men in evening dress clothes and top hats at the age of five. Throughout his career, fashion publishers hired him for his authentic, exact drawings and paintings of the beau monde. He was likely so successful in this art form, among other reasons, by the fact that he followed style as ardently as he portrayed it.

Leslie Saalburg believed throughout his life that society was not really constituting progress. In the manner of Elbert Hubbard, William Morris or Ralph Adams Cram, he was convinced that the glorious twenties and thirties had more to offer with regard to workmanship, design, style, dress codes, and savoir vivre. In addition, in his mind, elegance was fading despite its vital quality in the fashion world.." from the article: Leslie Saalburg – Fashion Illustrator Extraordinaire


Saalburg was know for painting people, places & things
Saalburg was know for painting people, places & things

Fashions and Automobiles by Leslie Saalburg


"Leslie Saalburg (1897-1974) was highly successful for most of his long illustration career. This despite the fact that his style changed little -- often the cause of a career foundering when illustration style fashions changed. Some of this had to do with timing. His use of India Ink pen outlining and watercolor or perhaps colored ink washes to fill areas was in line with 1920s fashion illustration styles and also the general illustration shift from heavy oil paints to washes during the 1930s. By the 1950s Saalburg thickened his washes for some of his work as a slight concession to later style trends, but the results remained easily identifiable as his work. Although many Saalburg illustrations can be found on the Internet, biographical information is sparse. One site with a good deal of information regarding his work and working practices is here, though it has little about his personal life. For what it's worth, I can add that, although he was American, he was born in London and died in Paris -- fitting places given the scenes he usually portrayed. An illustrator a decade older than Saalburg who had a similar career with regard to style and subject matter was Lawrence Fellows (1885-1964) who I wrote about here. Below are some examples of Saalburg's work.." from the blog: Art Contrarian


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