Wednesday, September 29, 2010

William H. Bradley-"The Dean of American Designers"

William H. Bradley (1868-1962), nicknamed the "Dean of American Designers", was an American illustrator of the Art Nouveau movement. Though his style is labeled "Art Nouveau", it is clear that Bradley extracted heavily from the aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts design movement. Like many of his European counterparts, Bradley also borrowed stylistic elements from Japanese woodblock prints. The work of Will Bradley is often compared to that of Aubrey Beardsley-an English Illustrator. And even though Bradley had already been established by the time Beardsley grasped the attention of the art world, some of Bradley's critics dismissed him as simply the "American Beardsley". (2) Nevertheless, Will Bradley was a visionary, a forerunner of the Art Nouveau movement, and one of the highest paid American artists of the early 20th century.

"With the growth of the advertising industry, graphic art became an integral part of the way products reached consumers." (1) Many artists, including Will Bradley, became actively involved in design for the commercial advertising world. Bradley's primary medium became poster work, but his skills extended to typography, layout, and illustration. Additionally, Bradley served as an editor, designer, typographer, illustrator, and press manager for the periodical-Bradley: His Book. He also worked brieflyy with children's books and set design. In 1954 Will Bradley won an AIGA award. The same year, he published a memoir of his life, titled Bradley: His Chap Book.

 1) Text- Graphic Design History:A Critical Guide, Drucker & McVarish, pgs 154-155

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