A large scale and evocative interior story illustration by Herbert Morton Stoops; likely commissioned for Collier’s or Cosmopolitan magazine, both of for which the artist was a frequent contributor. A briskly composed hearth scene with broad brush strokes that ultimately creates a wonderful sense of urgency and movement. Stoops painted in a style much like Dean Cornwell and Howard Pyle, the artist has a high water mark at auction of just under $11,000.00 in 2001.
From askart; a Biography on Herbert Morton Stoops
Herbert Morton Stoops was born on an Idaho ranch in 1887, seemingly the perfect setting for this future illustrator of the history of the American West. Stoops grew up around men, both cowboys and Indians, who had lived in a bygone West of raw nature, massive buffalo herds and Indian wars, that, by the time of Stoops’ boyhood, had slipped away and become the past.
Stoops graduated from Utah State College in 1905 at the young age of eighteen. He then worked on the “Examiner” and “Morning Call” newspapers in San Francisco as an artist. More than ten years later, in 1916, he studied at the Chicago Art Institute. Interestingly, while in Chicago he met future playwrights and movie screen writers and producers Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, who worked at the Tribune where Stoops was also employed as an artist.
Stoops served as an artillery officer in 1917 when World War I came. He gained national attention with his drawings of soldiers on whom the burdens of war had fallen, and their resulting exhaustion, wounds and filth experienced in the trenches.
Stoops went to New York City after the War, where he began the process of establishing himself as one of the most popular illustrators of the 1920s. His knowledge of the Old West and of war led to his success in illustrations for many magazines, including “Cosmopolitan”, “Colliers” and “This Week”, as well as an important, long lasting, thirteen-year association with the adventure publication, Blue Book magazine. Stoops was well-known for his illustrations for Frank B. Linderman’s 1930 publication, “American The Life Story of a Great Indian”. He illustrated numerous text books.
Stoops was also a painter. He won a medal in 1940 at a National Academy of Design exhibition for his painting, “Anno Domini.” His savagely ironic painting, “They’ll Give You a Fresh Life,” attacked Nazi criminality and hypocrisy. Stoops picture depicts an innocent man, a victim of the corrupted Nazi “legal” system, by means of his shadow cast before the podium of a Nazi judge. This work is in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Herbert Morton Stoops died in 1948 in New York City. He was a member of the American Arts Professional League, Artists’ Guild of New York, Salmagundi Club and Society of Illustrators.