Commercial Advertising Art by Harold McCauley
In the 1960s, after a successful career as a pulp, and later, paperback cover artist, Harold McCauley was faced with the reality of a dwindling market for his brand of sci-fi and fantasy illustration. Moving away from freelance work, the artist found employment as a company illustrator for The Martin Marietta Corporation, an American manufacturing company founded in 1961 through the merger of Glen L. Martin Company and American Marietta Corporation. The combined company became a leader in chemicals, aerospace, and electronics. In 1995, it merged with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin.
This gouache painting shows three seaplanes soaring through lightly clouded skies as ocean waves roll and crash below them. This is a rare surviving example from this important era in the artist’s career.
The painting is signed in the lower right by McCauley and is housed behind glass, beautifully matted, and professionally framed.
About the artist: Harold W. McCauley
Harold William McCauley was born July 11, 1913 in Chicago. His father was William James McCauley of Illinois. His mother’s name is not known. She was also from Illinois. She died of complications a few months after his birth. She was around twenty years old. His father was twenty-two, and worked at a local brewery, and eventually at the Triannon Ballroom, one of Chicago’s most historic jazz venues.
Harold McCauley was raised without formal adoption by his maternal grandmother, Christiana Grace, who had recently married her second husband, Fred Grace, a machinist at a piano factory. They lived at 3440 West 47th Street in Chicago.
In 1927, at the age of fourteen, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with J. Allen St. John, who inspired him with an interest in science fiction and fantasy art. He later studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
In 1934 at the age of twenty-one he began to suffer from a chronic heart condition.
From 1939 to 1942 he worked in Haddon Sundblom’s busy Chicago art studio, where he happened to pose for Sundblom’s original painting of the cheerful Quaker Oats Man.
In 1942 during WWII, he was age twenty-nine and suffered a disabling spinal condition, so he was not medically fit to serve in the military.
After 1946 he worked as a staff artist at the Chicago-based publishing house, Ziff-Davis. He painted covers for their pulp magazines Amazing, Fantastic Adventures, Imaginations, Imaginative Tales, Mammoth Detective, and Mammoth Western.
On his fortieth birthday, July 11,1953, he married his model, Grace Lorraine Lindeman. They lived in Chicago at 7650 South Campbell Avenue, where they raised one son and two daughters.
In the 1950s he created advertising art for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Orange Kist, and Schlitz Beer. He also painted pin-ups and calendar art.
In 1958 he painted interior story illustrations for the men’s magazine, Rogue.
In the early 1960s he worked for an erotic paperback publisher, Nightstand Library, of Evanston, IL.
In 1962 he moved to Melbourne, Florida, to work as a staff artist for a defense contractor. He also taught private art classes from his home studio on evenings and weekends.
In 1970 he underwent an innovative operation of open heart surgery, from which he endured a lengthy recovery.
Harold McCauley died from Pneumonia in a hospital in Melbourne, Florida, at age sixty-four on December 16, 1977.
© David Saunders 2009, Field Guide To Wild American PULP ARTISTS