Gustaf began working as a runner boy and as an apprentice by a lithographer's shop at eleven, to help support the family. After his artistic talent was observed, he obtained a scholarship in 1910 to, at only thirteen, attend the local art school, Slöjdföreningens skola.
Today is the birthday of artist, animator and vaudevillian Winsor McCay, who, were he still alive, would be 139 -- or 144 years old… more on that later. Like many animation pioneers, McCay's work has been largely overshadowed by his better known successors, Walt Disney and the Fleischer Brothers. But if it weren't for McCay, who knows what they'd have done with their lives.
Zenas Winsor McKay was born September 26th -- either in 1871 in Spring Lake, Michigan (according to McCay), or in 1869 in Canada (according to his tombstone), or 1867 in Canada (according to the census). What is not disputed is that he was the son of Robert McKay (later changed to McCay) and Janet Murray McKay. Robert worked variously as a teamster, grocer and real estate agent. They sent him to Cleary's Business College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), John Goodison (a former glass stainer) taught him the fundamentals of art. McCay moved to Chicago in 1889 with the intention of attending the Art Institute of Chicago. However, unable to afford tuition, he found a job at the National Printing and Engraving Company where he made circus and theatrical posters. In 1901, he moved to Cincinnati, where he worked as an artist for Kohl and Middleton's Vine Street Dime Museum and married Maude Leonore Dufour.
Today is the birthday of American artist Charles Dana Gibson, best known for his creation of The Gibson Girl. By some accounts, he's also responsible for the invention of the Gibson martini. Were he still alive, he’d be 143 years old today.
Gibson was born September 14th, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, today the heart of Boston’s population -- back then, probably not. His parents were DeWolf Gibson and Josephine Elizabeth Lovett. The patriarch was a somewhat gifted artist and encouraged his son to draw. Gibson honed his skill at Manhattan’s Art Students League. In 1886, he sold his first sketch to Life magazine (of a dog chained to a post), for which he became a contributor for the next three decades.
As Gibson’s reputation grew, his works appeared in The Century, Colliers, Harper’s Weekly and Scribners. By 1889, he’d acquired enough money to travel to Europe. In England he met illustrator George du Maurier, known for (among other things), his skill at drawing beautiful women. His subsequent illustrations reflect du Maurier's influence, although they are quite distinct.
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