The Swami told me he could teach me some new tricks
The distinguished American artist and illustrator Walt Otto created this glitzy magic-themed original published pin up oil on canvas calendar painting. A curvy mid-century brunette heart-breaker with a smile that’s all magic takes center stage in “The Swami told me he could teach me some new tricks.” A published vintage calendar top of the image is included with sale. The published image differs very slightly from how the canvas appears today, the artist removed the star studded throne that appears in the lithograph, making the magician’s assistant appear to float in mid-air, and moved his signature from atop the model’s foot to a lower location. Otto likely made these small changes after the publication of the calendar in an attempt to re-commission the work for another paid use.
About the artist: Walt Otto
Walt Otto was born in Horicon, Wisconsin, in 1895. His interest in art began when he was a mere youngster, surrounded by the natural beauty of abundant wetlands, wildlife, and meandering rivers. He showed an early talent for drawing and a keen awareness of color.
The family moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1912. As a teenager, his long association with illustrating began with a $15 correspondence course in art. A year later he opened his own photography studio that he operated until 1916 before joining the Army Air Corps. After World War I, Otto moved to Chicago where he accepted a position with the Edwards and Deutsch Lithography Company. There he worked with prominent artists Haddon Sunbloom, Montgomery Flagg, Andrew Loomis, Frederic Mizen and other well known American illustrators. Meanwhile, he attended night classes at the Chicago Academy of Art and enrolled in courses at the Art Institute of Chicago. This was followed by the opening of his own portrait studio in Chicago in 1933.
During World War II Otto again served with the Air Force, specializing in aerial photography. After his wife’s death in 1952 he returned to Oshkosh.
Known for his painting and illustrating, Walt Otto won numerous awards. His clients included the Schlitz Brewing Compan, J.J. Heinz Company, Anheuser-Busch, General Tire and Rubber, Miles Laboratories, Shell Petroleum Company, Mars Candy, Kellogg’s and other nationally known advertisers. His work was also published by the New York Graphic Society and appeared on the covers of Mother’s Magazine and Home Life, Woman’s Weekly and the Saturday Evening Post.