Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Henry Patrick Raleigh

Henry Patrick Raleigh (1880-1944) was an etcher, illustrator, lithographer, and painter.

He was born in Portland, Oregon on Sept. 23, 1880. "Harry" Raleigh moved to San Francisco with his family in 1888.

After studying at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute during 1896-1901, he took his first job as a sketch artist for the San Francisco Examiner. While there, William Randolph Hearst noticed his talent and encouraged him to move to NYC which he did in 1913.

There he continued newspaper work for the World while illustrating for Harper's Bazaar, Saturday Evening Post, and Colliers as well as books and other magazines. Raleigh led a small pack of illustrators in this time called the “Golden Age of American Illustration.” Improvements in printing technology freed illustrators to experiment with color and bold draftsmanship. His “confident line” created a portrait of American aspirations.

According to Wikipedia, an illustrator is a narrative artist who specializes in enhancing writing by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text. The illustration may be intended to clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually.

Traditional illustration techniques include watercolor, pen and ink, airbrush art, oil painting, pastels, wood engraving and linoleum cuts. Illustrations have been used in advertisements, greeting cards, posters, books, magazines and newspapers. A cartoon illustration can add humor to humorous essays. (wikipedia)

Some of the greatest writers of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, sought after Raleigh. Fitzgerald even wrote a fan letter saying, "Honestly, I think they're the best illustrations I've ever seen!"

What amazed me about the works of Raleigh was the emotion and movement he portrayed in his illustrations, almost as if a film strip had been stopped at one point in time.

Prior to photography, illustration was the main form of visual depiction for books, magazine, newspapers, advertising and more. In his heyday, Raleigh lived a luxurious life working for Saturday Evening Post and other's, being one of the highest paid illustrators of his day. He worked for eight months in New York and traveled to Florida the other four escaping the harsh winters. He lived the opulent life he portrayed in his illustrations and spent a good deal of time sailing the waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf around Florida.

Once photographs began to be used in magazines in 1930's, all the illustrators were fired except Norman Rockwell. Rockwell was kept due to his popularity with the public for his cover illustrations.

The last ten years of his life, Raleigh lived in poverty. Since his illustrations and their rights belonged to the magazines he was unable to sell any of his previous art for income. Without an established public following for his art, he found few supporters.

These are just a few of Raleigh's illustrations, sketches, and paintings on display in the gallery; my photos don't do them justice. The show will be up till September 10th at the Maitland Gallery near Orlando. Maitland Art Center, 231 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751, Tuesday - Sunday 11a.m. - 4p.m. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. WOW,WOW and WOW! The art center looks fabulous- I want to go! Thanks for the info and tour! WOW!

  2. Hi Meredith, thanks, you would have loved it, I want to go back again early in the day and spend all day there, one block away is a lake you can walk around too. A great place. I told Gary I want to apply for a residency. Won't start till next year I think, we'll see.

  3. What a shame that such a marvelous artist would die in poverty. Interesting post.

  4. Hi Patti, thanks, I think the depression might have been going on then too, so I am sure that contributed to his poverty. Also the sculptor at the art center told me that he was so used to living a life of luxury that when he lost his job he didn't know how to live frugally.

  5. I have the original advertisement of Maxwell House Coffee drawn.by Henry Raleigh.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment