Bart Solenthaler’s Bart&Co. collection of mid-century clip art is joyous pop culture manna. “The art is mostly from Harry Volk Jr.’s Art Studio, the Volk Corporation of Pleasantville, New Jersey,” he tells me. “That company went out of business sometime in 1980s. This collection was acquired during the 60s and 70s by the New York Times advertising department. Tastes change and the collection was unused for years. Eventually it was decided to dispose of the collection. That’s where I came in. I was employed by the New York Times Advertising Department at the time and was tasked with throwing the files into a trash dumpster. I asked if I could have the clip art rather than throwing it in the trash. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“I’ve given the art – which I’ve titled The Bart&Co. Historical Clip Art Collection – a good home since 2001. The collection is quite large and only a fraction of has been scanned and posted.”
“Based in the southernmost part of the state, ex-journalist Harry Volk had come up with the idea of publishing stock artwork – high quality line-drawings of people and objects, generic, any-purpose illustrations and cartoons known in the trade as ‘spots’ – and in Harry’s case as ‘clip-art.’
“Printed on glossy stock, costing the end-user pennies, these drawings were cut-and-pasted into advertisements, brochures, newsletters appearing all over the country, even used as artwork on packaging, on TV and displayed on billboards.”
“For years the Volk Clipbooks of Line Art were ubiquitous, a presence in the art departments of virtually every non-major ad agency, house-organ and art service in the US.”
– Tom Sawyer (via)
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