A long time ago I opened the pages of the then flourishing Saturday Evening Post and gazed at a strikingly original illustration by Stevan Dohanos. A native of some tropic place, perched atop a palm tree and blowing a message through a conch shell. The scene was beautifully observed but beyond that accomplishment the painting announced the arrival of an individual to the world of illustration. The native’s message was clear; with Dohanos a new image had appeared.
Beyond the illustrator’s required capacity to draw and compose the real “benchmark” of the true artist is originality of concept. Little Parkers and Dohanos’ and Fawcetts arrive and disappear and are forgotten but no one doubts that Dohanos is Dohanos’ man. I believe this to be the supremely important reason behind Dohanos’ nomination to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.
Perhaps redundant, there are additional reasons Stevan Dohanos is and has always been a useful man in the best sense of the word. Sometimes it appears that he has literally helped everybody. He was awarded the David Russell Lyman medal “For Outstanding Service to the Public Welfare” in 1955. He was national honorary chairman of the Christmas Seal Drive for the National Tuberculosis Association in 1960–61.
He received the George Washington Medal award from The American Studies Foundation Association in 1963. Dohanos is a member of the National Society of Mural Painters, The Artist and Writers club and The Dutch Treat Club. He was also the distinguished President of this Society 1961-1963. He is a founding Faculty Member of the Famous Artists School of Westport, Connecticut and currently chairman of the Postmaster General’s Citizen Advisory Committee.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Dohanos has not confined his talents to one field but happily graces several. His paintings and prints form a part of the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art; The Whitney; Pennsylvania Academy of Art; Avery Memorial of Hartford, Connecticut; New Britain Museum of American Art and Dartmouth College, as well as private collections. His murals live in West Virginia, Florida and the Virgin Islands.
Above all else, if an extremely personal note is allowable, he is a warm and generous man who thoroughly fits the silhouette: An Artist and a gentleman. I salute him!
© 2011 Society of Illustrators