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John Hassall (1868-1948)

Cartoonist, illustrator, designer, painter and teacher, born in Walmer, Kent. He was the father of the artist Joan Hassall and the writer Christopher Hassall. After education in England and Germany, and twice failing to gain a commission at Sandhurst, he emigrated to Manitoba, Canada, where he farmed. In the early 1890s, after some success contributing sketches to The Graphic, he moved back to Europe, studying art in Antwerp, then enrolling at the Academie Julian in Paris. Returning to England in the mid 1890s Hassall became a popular cartoonist and one of the most celebrated poster designers of his generation (his designs Included the well-known advertisement "Skegness Is so bracing."). Hassall illustrated numerous books (especially for Blackie and Co.) and periodicals such as The Idler, London Opinion, Pearson's Magazine and The Tatler. For many years he ran his own school of art, the New Art School and School of Poster Design. He was a member of RI, RWA, London Sketch and Savage Clubs. He lived in London and designed posters for the Great Northern Railway and numerous other clients. Like many artists who achieved a huge reputations through commercial work, Hassall craved public recognition of a different sort. Through his Royal Academy exhibits - larger, ambitious, historical works - he sought to establish himself as an academic painter. These works, however, lack the originality, liveliness and invention of his instantly recognisable and hugely successful commercial work.

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