A wonderfully executed interior illustration for a story by Eustace Cockrell titled Compliments of R. Smith. Depicting a Christmas gift given to the gentleman center in the form of a race horse. Caption reads: “He won de second at Sunnyside Downs,” Refugee said ” Merry Christmas, Mr. Willie .” A large crisply-rendered pastel nicely framed and matted in it’s original gesso frame. Retains original Collier’s Magazine verso identification label and a full copy of the published magazine is included in the sale. Martha Sawyers artwork is in the Frank Gehry-designed Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.
Biography of Martha Sawyers (1902-1988)
She became an illustrator unintentionally. Her drawings and paintings of China and Indonesia were on exhibition at the Marie Sterner Gallery and happened to be seen by William Chessman, art editor of Collier’s. Chessman offered her a manuscript with an Oriental setting, which she illustrated with the sensitivity and taste for which her work has since become famous.
Martha was from Cuero, Texas, studied at the Art Students League; lived and painted in Paris, Bali, Peking, Nepal, and numerous other parts of the world. During World War II, Collier’s sent her as an artist-correspondent to the China-Burma-India area and published numerous illustrated articles by her about the armed forces personnel and the native populations. LIFE magazine published a series of her pastel portraits of Orientals in the British Merchant Navy. She also designed posters for China Relief.