The works of Artist James E. Allen (1894-1964)

James Edmund Allen is best known today as a printmaker, primarily through his legacy of etchings and lithographs showing American industrial workers of the 1930s. His range was wider however, including images of natural history (contemporary and prehistoric), maritime themes, war and social conditions. His decidedly narrative, representational works were in and out of favor through the dramatic revolutions in artistic expression of the 20th century, but his carefully composed and straightforward compositions never truly went out of style.

Allen was also a prolific painter, a medium he reserved mainly for his commercial works as an illustrator. In his 30+ year career, he contributed numerous illustrations to books, advertisements, and to stories in popular magazines like Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. Most canvases are likely lost or are hidden in private collections. Evidence of, and images for, this work remain in printed books and serials, providing an opportunity for a broad accounting of Allen's work as an illustrator for the first time.