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Covering by Ernest Hamlin Baker

17 May

Once upon a time there was an important weekly news magazine named Time. It was the leading magazine in its category from the beginning (it being the first of its kind in the U.S.), and for years its cover would feature an illustration-portrait of a newsmaker. Artwork prevailed (though not exclusively) through the 1960s and beyond, though photography slowly began taking over as the 1970s wore on.

A prolific cover artist during the 1940s and 50s was Ernest Hamlin Baker (1889-1975). He attended Colgate, where he was a track and field athlete and was active in student publications. Baker’s mature style was strongly realistic. No modernist simplification for him: Baker seemed to glory in depicting every wrinkle and blemish on the faces assigned to him by Harry Luce and the editors who selected cover subjects. Below are examples of Baker’s work:

American Legion poster – ca. 1920

Cover of January, 1934 Fortune magazine

Time magazine Man of the Year cover, Jan. 6, 1942 – resident Franklin Roosevelt; his new wartime allies Stalin and Churchill are in the background. Baker seems to have Winston eying Uncle Joe warily, a reflection of his true view of the Communist dictator.

Time magazine cover for Nov. 23, 1942 – ames Doolittle, leader of the famous Tokyo raid earlier that year and now commander of Twelfth Air Force in the newly-opened North Africa front. The olive drab color and white-on blue star represent the paint-job found on U.S. Army aircraft at that time.

Time magazine Man of the Year cover, Jan. 1, 1945 – Dwight Eisenhower, commander of Allied forces that invaded France in June and at year’s end were on a front near the German border.

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