Lorraine Fox 1979 Hall of Fame Inductee An artist’s world is a special place where emotions coexist with the realities of life. When this world emerges on paper or canvas through the artist’s talented hand, we outsiders are given an “audience” with these emotions and a glimpse into this world.
Lorraine Fox’s world was unique. The images and symbolism, the brushwork and experimental media were uniquely hers. Nostalgic but youthful, disciplined but ever-changing, she was an inspiration to her closest friends, to her students and to all those who “swim upstream.” For she was determined early in her life to make it in this profession at a time when women were the exception.
Born in Brooklyn of second-generation German and Irish parents, Lorraine had a youthful talent for art. Her brother, a cartoonist, brought humor into her early life and her Victorian grandmother gave her a fondness for nostalgia. These traits are seen in her earliest published works but there would be stronger influences down the road.
She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1944 and obtained a staff position at Keiswetter Agency. Limited to spots at this time, she also freelanced work to Seventeen and Better Homes and Gardens. Kirk Wilkenson, art director at Woman’s Day, was the first to see the full potential in this determined young woman. Her regular column of drawings, as well as full illustrations, appeared in that magazine. One fact rings true. Even in the simplest and smallest assignment, Lorraine added touches of her own creativity and imagination.
One of Lorraine’s sharpest competitors at Pratt had been Bernard D’Andrea. After graduation he became her ardent suitor and in 1951 they were married in New York City. His reputation as an illustrator was being established in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping in the heyday of the boy-girl era. They were a positive influence on each other’s artwork as their styles grew closer.
In the mid-1950s Lorraine joined Bernie at the Charles E. Cooper Studio. This amalgam of artists was the center for illustration talent at that time. Joe DeMers, Steve Dohanos, Alex Ross, Jon Whitcomb and Coby Whitmore were in Cooper’s stable. Lorraine developed in this atmosphere but a strong influence lay ahead.
In 1961, she enrolled in Ruben Tam’s painting class at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. His theories on introspection and emotional expression were to bring her subconscious to the fore. Her paintings took on a more profound reality, losing much of their naiveté. Her four years of study with Tam were to develop her as an illustrator but her personal works, though unseen even today, would please any gallery.
The D’Andreas worked very closely though in separate studios of their Great Neck, N.Y. home. Annual travels, most often to Europe, were times for sketching and for shopping for the many art items that decorated their home.
The long working relationship that Lorraine had with the publications in the women’s magazine market attests to the respect with which her works were held. Redbook, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping were clients of hers for many years. Her untimely death came at a point in her development when she was painting some of her best works and was nearing the elusive goal called “satisfaction.”
Lorraine’s influence on illustration, however, will be felt for many years to come through her active role in the shaping of young artists at Parsons School of Design and at the Famous Artists School. Many of Ruben Tam’s theories found their way into her classroom. She inspired her students to find themselves through their work and to feel the exhilaration of that self-discovery.
© 2011 Society of Illustrators