Wednesday, 7 January 2009
During the 1950s, Schlitz beer was regularly advertised in America’s great weekly illustrated magazines as an essential accompaniment to a contented family life. These examples from 1953 and 1958 show how the American family gradually lost a sense of three-dimensionality as illustrators discarded conventional modelling techniques in favour of hard-edged clearly defined flat patterned shapes. An element of caricature crept in as physiques were stretched and elongated and eyes began to pop under the pressure of excessive excitement. The new Flatland of the late Fifties looks like a lot more fun when compared with the dull conventionality of life for the couple on the beach. It might be argued that the elimination of three-dimensionality reflected the rising tide of social conformity that typified the Eisenhower years.