|Clarence F. Underwood - 1905|
TrainingClarence attended both the public schools as well as Allegheny College, but art was his ticket to the larger world. Leaving Meadville he received formal training at the Art Students League in New York, then London, and later at the Julian Academy in Paris as a pupil of Jean-Paul Laurens, Benjamin Constant and William Bouguereau, in 1896. Soon after leaving the Academy, Clarence would choose for himself a career as an illustrator.
Marriage and Family
Eventually Clarence found love again at age 33, marrying 22 year-old, Katherine Ann Spotswood Whitehead. of Erie, PA on February 23, 1905. They would have two children together, a son, Clarence Frederick and a daughter, Katherine Page, both born in New York.
Many of his paintings and illustrations bore heavily romantic themes, many of which showing Edwardian couples courting, often with animals or in pastoral backdrops. Women it seems, however, were Clarence’s favorite subject matter. Whether this was due to commissions by publications or his own choosing, is not entirely clear, but it is rare to find any of his popular work devoid of the female figure.
His Commercial Work
Probably his most well-known accomplishment in commercial field was his creation of the “Palmolive Girl,” a type of beauty girl that became popular throughout the country. Underwood was also credited for being the first to show women smoking in advertisements, when he painted model Suzanne Talbot, and supposedly coined the famous ad slogan, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel."
The Great Warlike many of his fellow illustrators, produced an ever-increasing number of propaganda material meant to arouse sympathy for those fighting the Germans and eventually to foster support of the country's entry into the Great War. In the years immediately before American involvement, Clarence’s work included magazine covers encouraging women’s participation in the Preparedness Movement, anti-German illustrations for short fiction articles, and even the cover art for the J. Stewart Barney novel, L.P.M. The End of the Great War (Putman, 1915), a tale in which a scientist aims to end the War early by means of a startling invention.
After the U.S. declared war, Clarence worked directly for the War Department and the Red Cross, and his material naturally became more overt in supporting the war effort. He illustrated a Marine Corps recruiting poster, and innumerable pro-war, public service advertisements. Clarence's most recognized poster is likely, "Back Our Girls Over There," (1918) which called upon citizens to donate money to the Young Women's Christian Association in support of women serving overseas.
|Underwood in his NY studio|
Find more of Underwood's work on our Pinterest page where we have a dedicated board.
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