The Gallery of Popular Early
20th c. Prints

Michael Ivankovich Antiques & Auction Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 1536 * Doylestown, PA 18901
(215)-345-6094 * E-Mail:

During the early 20th century there were literally hundreds of artists and illustrators competing for a share of the Art Print, Book, Calendar, Magazine, and Advertising Illustration markets. While some artists were very successful and became quite famous professionally, most failed to catch the attention of America's rapidly growing population and remained in obscurity.

Most Popular Early 20th c. Prints were never intended as fine art or for longevity. Rather, they were simply used to sell calendars or sell magazines for the advertisers and publishers who commissioned the original artwork. The Calendar Art Print...which was used to highlight one month on an advertising calendar...was intended to be replaced by another print...usually by another artist...the following month. Magazine Cover Illustrations were only intended to last for one month before being replaced by another print...usually by another artist...on the next month's issue. The most popular prints often went on the become published as framed Art Prints, or were further used to sell or advertise other products in other markets or media.

But in reality, the vast majority of Popular Early 20th c. Prints simply faded from memory and were rarely seen again. This rapidly evolving collectible field of Popular Early 20th c. Prints focuses primarily upon those prints that were the most popular with people during the 1900-1940 period...and that are still the most popular with collectors today.

The primary difference between Popular Early 20th c Prints...from the Original Pastels...from Hand- Colored Photography... rests primarily in how they were produced.

* Early 20th c Pastels...were individually produced...on a blank piece of specially prepared an individual artists using chalk pastels...and no two pastels are ever exactly alike because each is totally unique

* Early 20th c Hand-Colored Photographs...were manually produced in a studio darkroom, generally in relatively small quantities, and then individually hand-colored, each looking somewhat similar, but each having a certain individuality from having been physically colored by a different colorist...on different days...and usually over a period of many years.

* Popular Early 20th c Prints...were mass machine produced...on a commercial printing press... often in quantities of tens-of-thousands...with each print looking exactly like all the others in the press run. Mass-produced. And exactly alike.

Based upon originality and rarity, logic suggests that Early 20th c. Pastels should be worth more than Early 20th c. Hand-Colored Photography...which should both be worth more than Popular Early 20th c. Prints. Yet this is generally not the case. Collectors typically collect "the name" and certain names...such as Maxfield Parrish...often command a higher price than many hand-colored photographs or pastels.

Maxfield Parrish, Bessie Pease Gutmann, R. Atkinson Fox, and Harrison Fisher are probably the most recognizable names within the area of Popular Early 20th c. Prints today. Each developed their own individual style, and each was successful enough to sell such a large volume of their work between 1900-1940 that a relatively large quantity of their prints remain in circulation today.

Beyond these four major names there literally hundreds of other Popular Early 20th c. Prints that are quite collectible today, including Philip Boileau, Eda Doench, GB Fox, Phillip Goodwin, Meta Grimball, Hy Hintermeister, Boris O'Klein, Frank Stick, and William M. Thompson, just to name a few.

Although Popular Early 20th c. Prints were cheap, mass-produced, and not necessarily meant to last until the 21st c, many have indeed survived and they are still popular with collectors today. We believe that certain segments of this market will continue to thrive and we will be adding many additional segments to this gallery in the coming months.


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Background Information on Early 20th c. Print Artists & Illustrators

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