Wednesday 1 November 2023

Saul Tepper - part 1

Saul Tepper (left)

Saul Tepper (1899 – 1987) was born to eastern European immigrants on the lower east side of Manhattan. Hard work was the key to success there, and Saul Tepper was no exception. By 19, he was working full time in his own lettering studio while studying art at night and on weekends. He found William DeLeftwich Dodge’s composition classes at Cooper Union and George Bridgeman’s “ideas in drawing” at the Art Students League, were important influences. But his most important influence came later, under Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central Art School and at Dunn’s Tenafly, New Jersey, studio.

After graduating from Cooper Union, Saul acquired a job in a studio as a lettering man. There, he had his first chance to do some figure work in oil. In 1925, at the Van Dyke Studios he branched out as an illustrator. For the next few years, his work developed under the guidance of Harvey Dunn. Saul’s first sample from his new studio was purchased by Liberty magazine, who created a story around it. Collier’s followed shortly thereafter, as did the Curtis Publishing group (Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman) then came Woman’s Home Companion, The American, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. By the mid 1930’s, Saul’s style had become recognisable and commanded high fees

Saul had a strong love of music which has led to many published songs and resulted in a membership in ASCAP in 1941. He created many of the songs for the popular “Illustrators Shows,” produced by the Society of Illustrators. The Illustrators Barbershop Quartet, with Saul as baritone, was a highlight of those productions. Over the years, Saul’s music has been recorded by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Harry James and many others. The period between World War I and II was Saul’s “Golden Age,” an era of romance and adventure in which he, Cornwell and Rockwell played an important part. Reproduced in the major magazines for four decades, Saul’s work became a source of inspiration for many artists of that period.

In the 1950’s, still an active artist for the new adventure magazines (True, Argosy and Real), Saul reached a point of dissatisfaction. He became TV art director for J. Walter Thompson and BBD&O, creating images for TV commercials. He also continued with his music, composing the Red Cross theme song for 1960-1961.

This is part 1 of a 3-part post on the works of Saul Tepper:

n.d. Rough Sketches by Tepper:


1925 Under the Gun
oil on canvas 91.4 x 78.7 cm

1926 Ambush
oil on canvas 60.9 x 91.4 cm

1926 Chesterfield Cigarettes advertisement

1927 I know we've saved its running cost
General Electric Refrigerator
advertisement in The Saturday Evening Post

1927 The Patient
The Saturday Evening Post
oil on canvas 76.8 x 101.6 cm

1928 Original artwork
(details not found)

1928 Original artwork
(details not found)

1928 The Old Ledgers
oil on canvas 27.3 x 84.4 cm

1928 The Old Ledgers detail

1928 The Old Ledgers detail

1929 "Dearest, I'm Glover McKay.'"he said...
oil on canvas 71.2 x 102 cm

1930 Now a 3, General Electric All-Steel Refrigerator
advertisement original artwork
oil on canvas 96.5 x 76.2 cm

1930 Now a 3, General Electric All-Steel Refrigerator
oil on canvas 38 x 30 cm

1931 Among the Ice Cubes
General Electric refrigerator advertisement
oil on canvas 91.4 x 88.9 cm

1931 People in a Modern Office
oil on canvas 71.1 x 104.1 cm

1931 The New Regridgerator
oil on canvas 91.4 x 91.4 cm

1931 To the Health of the American family..
General Electric Refrigerator advertisement

1931-32 Western Confrontation (The Tall Ladder)
The American Magazine story illustration

1932 Fallen Cowboy
oil on canvas 71.1 x 111.7 cm

1932 Heinz Tomato Juice
oil on canvas 33 x 43.2 cm

1932 Lucky Strike Cigarettes

1932 The American Magazine
September 1932

1932 The Tall Ladder
"Wager lifted his own voice in a great echoing shout"
oil on canvas 88.9 x 100.4 cm
The American Magazine, September 1932

1932 The Tall Ladder
The American Magazine, September 1932

1932 The Tall Ladder
Western Confrontation
oil on canvas 107.9 x 168.9 cm

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