The Meinrad Mayer Gallery in the American Illustrators Hall of Fame

Article excerpt

THE MEINRAD MAYER GALLERY

The finest illustrators of this century and last have painted for the Saturday Evening Post. Indeed, for many years the Post was the standard of illustrator excellence by which all other magazines were judged.

The Post is now a repository of illustrator art from all over the country. It seems fitting, then, that we should sponsor the American Illustrators Hall of Fame in Indianapolis.

For the past two decades, many of the artists who once brought their work to our Philadelphia Independence Square offices have traveled to Indianapolis to see their original paintings hanging on our walls beside framed copies of the Post on which they appeared. Many of these artists are living to a remarkably old age. Some who visited us, we were saddened to learn, have since passed on to their heavenly homes. A few are still painting.

Some visiting artists were disappointed to discover that their paintings had disappeared from the walls of The Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia during the time it appeared that the company was crumbling. Some of the paintings that had strayed have been returned to their rightful home with the Post.

With this issue we begin a series of tributes to our cover artists, and we introduce our readers again to the works of Meinrad Mayer. Even though Mayer, at 96, has faulty vision, his artist's talent enables him to create work that others enjoy. One hundred and thirty of his paintings hang in the Meinrad Mayer Gallery, the first gallery to be completed in the American Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Meinrad Mayer is a man who spent most of his life giving pleasure to many with his versatile imagination and his prolific paintbrush.

Meinrad Mayer, or Leo as he is known to his friends, is still painting in the tidy workroom of his home. Few of us get this close to the century mark, and those who do are often content to dwell in memories. Not so Leo, who keeps his studio clean and organized, ready for inspiration to strike.

Leo's career has touched nearly every artistic base. He studied art in Buffalo, New York, and began his commercial career in that city before World War I called him to Washington, D.C., where he became a medical illustrator for the Surgeon General's office. After the war, Leo headed up to New York City for a dozen years of work in advertising agencies before setting out on his own to work as a freelance illustrator. Like Norman Rockwell, Leo admired the work of J. …