Illustrations 296 items

James E. Allen was a prolific illustrator who, working mostly in oil, contributed numerous illustrations to stories in popular magazines of the day, such as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, and Hearst's/Cosmopolitan. He was a student of noted illustrator and teacher Harvey Dunn (1884-1952), who was a protege of the illustrator Howard Pyle (1853-1911), the “Father of American Illustration”. In keeping with authentic and believable storytelling, they espoused a narrative realism in their art. Howard Pyle wrote in 1897, "the true artist paints that which he sees in the world of nature, and not that which other men in studios tell him he ought to see." Art and narrative found especially fertile ground when the two were joined together in the enormously popular illustrated magazines and novels of the late 19th and early 20th century. Illustrations were a critical part of an entertainment package, visual “frames … helping to convey a flowing, richly layered experience consisting of the author’s words, the artist’s images and the reader’s imagination." Accordingly, both Allen's commercial and personal works are unabashedly representational, with a careful eye for human subjects and a keen sense of composition. Allen would carefully research each new assignment to provide authentic details to tales of Spanish conquest, Pueblo Indians, pirates, sea captains, etc. He liked to work with live models in his studio to achieve accurate poses to be placed in scenes.