Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Willys-Overland Paintings, Part Five, Poster Promotion

Part Five of the Willys-Overland Paintings brings us the final installment of James Sessions’ work. Working primarily in watercolors, Sessions produced an astounding body of work for Willys’ promotion of the civilian jeep. Beginning early on in the war, Willys ran ads like these in many of the major magazines of the day, Newsweek, Colliers, the Saturday Evening Post, LIFE and Look to name a few. Willys, not to miss an opportunity, also sent out direct mail copies of these ads. I found a total of eleven original lithographed copies of the ads complete with the original envelope that they were shipped in to an Elmer Hacker of St. Louis, Missouri. The envelope is even a neat piece of jeep history showing the Toledo, Ohio postmark (unfortunately undated...but postage rates for packages or large envelopes were 3 cents with 3 cents for each additional ounce up until I’d guess that this realistically dates from the late 1940’s...) and the “Get A ‘Jeep’” stamp on it. I’m not sure if they were purchased or merely sent out by Willys a free promotion to interested parties, but they are neat posters that could have been framed or hung up in someone’s barn, garage or home in the jeep’s infancy. Some of the lithos even include information on the magazines and dates in which they appeared. While there were many duplicates of ads that I already have seen there were the above four that I didn’t have as well as the full color version of the “A Magnificent Fool” black and white ad that I had collected from Newsweek magazine. Click here to view the entire album of ads and artwork. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series and your appreciation of the beautiful artwork and design work by these artists and the Willys ad men. I’ve always had a fondness for their timeless ads through the years, but these have stood out time and again! I will be taking the next week or two off from regular updates in an effort to consolidate my thoughts on what I have and what I want to present to you next. I have alot of thoughts and dreams and plans. I want to get back to the Jeep Cavalcade scrapbook and work on my plans for the jeep international family tree and work on a new section of international ads as well and a new section of photos and newspaper articles found online. But in order to get to new stuff I need to finish updating the look of the entire site. I’ve been working on it piecemeal for better than the last year and its time that I slogged through it and finished it. So please bear with me for a couple of week while I work on it and I promise that there will be alot more in store for you! Contact me at well if you have any suggestions as to what you’d like to see or check out our Facebook or Twitter pages and leave feedback for me! In the meanwhile check out the great gifts for yourself or another lover of jeeps in your life at the Zazzle online marketplace. And its 22% off EVERYTHING - this weekend only! Enter ZAZZLESALE22 at checkout!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Willys-Overland Paintings, Part Four, James Sessions

Part four in our next to the last entry in the Willys-Overland paintings brings us the last of the James M. Sessions works. Towards the end of the war with plans already well underway to market the civilianized jeep to the world, Willys unleashed another series of paintings by Sessions. These featured not scenes of wartime and fighting that the MB plowed through, but pastoral scenes of the CJ now literally getting ready to plow through its next chores. These were a relief from the constant reminders that we were at war and enabled us as Americans and a part of the greater world that one day soon, peace would come back after our enemies were vanquished. Like one title states, “From Fighter To Farmhand,” many GIs were getting ready for the same transition. Come back next week for one more look at the many ways that Willys-Overland devised to get their message out to the American public and click here\ to view the entire albums of the Willys-Overland paintings. And yeah, its springtime! But its also tax time... But you can still enjoy a bit of your refund and save when you enter the code: TAXDAYSAVING at checkout to save 10.40% off ALL orders! Its the 1040EZ Discount! Hurry, it ends Tuesday! Find our store here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Willys-Overland Paintings, Part Three, James Sessions

Part Three of the Willys-Overland Paintings brings us to the best known of the artists who was commissioned by Willys to illustrate a series of ads that were run starting early in the war about 1942. Willys already knew that it was to be able to bank on the jeep for its continued success after its military contract expired and it needed to get the word out to the civilian world as well. What better way to do that than to illustrate the countless stories being heard and newspapers read all over the barber shops, waiting rooms, bars, dinner tables, schools and homes across the country? James M. Sessions was the most prolific of the four artists and consequently seems to be the best known nowadays. His work in the ads appeared everywhere, The Saturday Evening Post, Newsweek, Colliers, LIFE, Look and so on. It served to bring to life what people had been reading and hearing about overseas, that the fighting men of the Allies were winning with the help of the mighty jeep. I was planning on giving you all of the Sessions ads today, but decided to break it up a bit more. Today we’ll have the war themed work, next week we’ll have the peace-time home front work and lastly, a special little seen treat of Sessions’ work. I’m not sure if I have the entirety of his work yet. I haven’t Fred Coldwell’s excellent book, “Selling The All-American Wonder” to reference and here are two small thumbnails of work that exists but that I do not yet have.
Ad on top shows an alternate version of the caption that I have and commonly see, “The Sun Never Sets On The Willys Jeep.” Ad on the bottom is a humorous jab by Sessions that I’ve enjoyed but have rarely seen. The caption reads “To Adolph With Best Wishes From Willys-Overland Men.” Click here to view the entire album of his work. Enjoy and have a happy Easter today!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Willys-Overland Paintings, Part Two, John Howard

Continuing with part two this week of the all new Willys-Overland Paintings section, we have the illustrator, John Howard. Commissioned to produce a series of now famous ads for what Willys-Overland envisioned as a public introduction of the new civilian jeep these ads became probably the best known examples of jeep advertising. They are classic forms of the golden age of advertising before Photoshop and the computer, when many freelance artists were making a great living producing drawings and paintings for the advertising market. Howard, whom I can’t find anything about online (anyone have any info on the man?) produced works of art that deviated from what Sessions, Horndorf and Clark made. Howard instead of concentrating on realistic scenes, created allegorical and fanciful depictions of the ‘heart’ of the MB, jeeps encircling the world and what must irk Bantam enthusiasts nowadays, the insistence that Willys and the jeep were linked together as one in people’s minds on the world stage. Click on the thumbnails to view the individual ads or here to view the full albums of all the artists’ work. Come back next week when we’ll concentrate on the best known of the illustrators, James Sessions. The next week will bring part four and a treat of a direct to consumer advertising special!