Bernard D'Andrea

2015 Hall of Fame Inductee : Bernard D'Andrea

Bernard D’Andrea has had a long and varied career that began well over a half-century ago. A native of Buffalo, NY, he showed artistic talent early on in a nurturing atmosphere. As a teenager, his hero was Vincent Van Gogh and he worked at a drawing table he built for himself. Reward for his efforts was winning a national competition from Scholastic Magazine: a full scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He was pulled out of school by the Army and inducted into the technical school of the U.S. Quartermaster Corps as an Army artist. While in the Army he illustrated Army manuals and designed war posters. After his discharge in 1947 he received his diploma from Pratt Institute. He returned to New York City and joined the prestigious Charles E. Cooper Studio, which represented future Society Hall of Famers such members as Coby Whitmore, Joe DeMers, Joe Bowler, and Lorraine Fox, D’Andrea’s wife, whom he’d met at Pratt and married in 1951.

After two years of advertising work, D’Andrea launched a successful career as an editorial illustrator. He held longtime relationships with the top magazines of the time such as The Saturday Evening Post for 15 years and Good Housekeeping for over 40 years. During what he calls “the glory days of illustration” and citing Saturday Evening Post covers as an inspiration, his work appeared in Boy’s Life, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Home Companion, McCall’s and Seventeen. For Boy’s Life, he did an illustration for an Isaac Asimov story in which he had to invent a time machine for two boys searching for Santa Claus. A favorite work, it also led to a friendship with the famous author, for whom he did several works.

A “most gifted draftsman,” as described by Murray Tinkelman, D’Andrea was also a consummate professional and could produce suave “girl/boy” images for the women’s magazines as well as the requisite mannered realism of the Post, portraying ideal American life. In The Birthday for the Post, he adds a light touch of humor to the piece, a deceptively complex narrative composition. As early as 1956, in an image of a man sitting at a counter in a diner, in a Cosmopolitan story about murder, he utilizes a more gritty style, with flat planes and abstract shapes reminiscent of Ben Shahn’s style. Yet in the following year for a story about lovers, also set in a diner, he produces the perfect boy/girl image and mood to pull the reader into the romantic story. A masterful illustrator, D’Andrea had all the talent necessary to fulfill the need of the narrative above all else.

After years of total immersion in mainstream illustration, D’Andrea broadened his artistic horizons in 1960 by seriously pursuing painting. Murray Tinkelman introduced him, his wife, and many of the other Cooper artists to Reuben Tam, the prominent landscape abstract expressionist who taught at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Studies with Tam, and inspired by the Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky, D’Andrea altered his views about illustrative concepts and developed a confidence in the need for originality. An inborn curiosity and inquisitiveness, as described by Fox, meant he had the instincts for new directions.

It was a time of great change in the field—art directors, taking cues from the avant-garde, had begun to move from strict representation to new ways to narrate stories and articles. Both D’Andrea and Fox began to pursue more daring assignments while teaching their philosophies at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

At this time the painter/illustrator began to emerge. D’Andrea exhibited and was represented by the Alan Stone Galleries in the early 1970s. He continued a split career of two disciplines: illustration as one, and the other of painting abstract expressionism. The merge began to come many years later. In 1974 he created the illustration for The Conversation, a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Gene Hackman, portrayed by D’Andrea in the theatrical poster. The realistic portrait captures the actor in a quintessential moment of listening, while the surrounding montage hints at the story line, but more important, sets a tone of dark intrigue.

In 1976, at the height of her career, Lorraine Fox died prematurely. D’Andrea went on a self-imposed layoff for a time, and then resumed working with intensity. In 1980, he married Jean Stark, a preeminent goldsmith, instructor, and author, most notably of Classical Chains. The couple relocated from Long Island to western New Jersey and D’Andrea began to paint the New Jersey farmlands while continuing his illustrational assignments.

In later years, his book illustrations were notably used by the Franklin Mint Publications, and he created a series of paintings for People and Places of the Past: the National Geographic Cultural Atlas. His Roman Triumphal March is a testament to his handling of all the formal requirements of his craft—draftsmanship, composition and painterly ability. Beyond that is a verve that is personal to the artist, which—even with the myriad of details, from far-off columns to feathers in the forefront—communicates to the viewer excitement and grandeur on an epic scale.

In 1983, D’Andrea had a successful plein air painting exhibit of work done in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and combined with his New Jersey landscapes, he exhibited in the Hammer Galleries in New York City, and was offered a major landscape show at the Hunter Museum of Contemporary Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His extensively exhibited work was also becoming part of numerous collections.

He created a final illustration in 1994 for Good Housekeeping then departed New Jersey for Hilton Head Island, where he devotes himself to painting exclusively, and argues about art with friend and former Cooper Studio member, Joe Bowler.

As a painter/illustrator D’Andrea over the years has been the recipient of numerous awards presented at the Society of Illustrators Annual shows, and in 1964 the Award of Excellence was given to him for an editorial piece entitled The Boy for Seventeen Magazine, art directed by Joan Fenton. In the mid 1960s he also received a Silver Medal awarded by the Philadelphia Art Directors for his editorial work in The Saturday Evening Post. In 2005 several of his illustrations were accepted out of a retrospective held for three months in the Telfair Museum Academy of Arts in Savannah, Georgia.  These were illustrations done for AT&T.

Noted illustration historian Walt Reed said of Bernard D’Andrea that he was “always searching for new artistic horizons.” Beginning with inspiration from Vincent van Gogh, to Saturday Evening Post cover art, to Reuben Tam, to Jackson Pollock and onward, D’Andrea’s artistic evolution continues.

Jill Bossert
Editor, Illustrators 57

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