In NYC during the ’20s and ’30s illustration art was an important part of advertising. Some great artists benefited from this, men like Leyendecker, Flagg, Rockwell, Gibson and Howard Christy and women like Rose O’Neill and Jessie Willcox Smith.
The nature of their illustration art was its impermanence—in the public eye today, gone tomorrow.
I’d like to steer you toward a terrific collection of murals by Christy that requires a night out for drinks (expensive) or dinner (very expensive) at Leopard at des Artistes, the reincarnation of Café des Artistes. Maybe go for just one drink.
Very classy, it’s housed in an attractive building (Hotel des Artistes) on West 67th Street, with an entrance just off Central Park West, that also housed the likes of Noel Coward, Isadora Duncan and Norman Rockwell.
The room is adorned with Christy’s murals depicting a glen populated with naked sylphs, fairies, nymphs and models flitting about for the amusement of the well-off men and women diners who manifest the allegory, or are at least hopeful they will. Today this theme may not go over so well, but as historic art it is important. Generally I love illustration art, so my tolerance for sexism in this vein is high; less so in real life.
So, what to make of ‘suggestive’, non-illustration art, pictures by Balthus for example? Gourmet food for thought.
Des Artistes is close to Lincoln Center, so you might consider a drink there, followed by the stroll down the block to your theater.