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paintings and art-collection blog

paintings and art-collection blog

Friday, June 7, 2013

Australian Fairy, Howard Gaze (1884-1963)


Mr. Harold Gaze was one of the most original Australasian illustrators of fantasy, yet his achievement has still to be fully recognised, and his life to be accurately charted. Born in New Zealand, he studied at various London art schools in the early years of the First World War.Between 1917 and 1921 Mr. Howard Gaze wrote and illustrated 9 fantasy works for children and produced his first recorded book illustrations, for If I Could Fly by Rose Strong Hubbell, for an American imprint. At the end of the war, he went to Australia, and settled in Melbourne, possibly taking with him a portfolio ‘with which to impress and tempt local publishers’. His first Australian title, The Wicked Winkapong, was published, with his own text, in time for Christmas 1918 and properly launched his career. In the following three years, he wrote and illustrated eight further fantasies for children, and exhibited some of the art work with the Victorian Artists’ Society. Combining robust, grotesque draughtsmanship and confident use of watercolour, he proved himself the leading male illustrator in a genre dominated by women. Early in the nineteen-twenties, he returned to London and, while there, produced at least six further illustrated books. Then, in 1927, he moved to the United States, settling in Pasadena, and living there until his death. During the nineteen-thirties, he became known as ‘The Bubble Man’, on the strength of several successful solo shows of fantastic watercolours which he held in Los Angeles. His later work, containing nude female figures, appears to have been aimed at an adult audience.

























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