Saturday, 25 July 2009
Leslie Ragan, Visions of Stainless Steel
In the 1930’s Leslie Ragan designed some wonderfully expressive posters for the New York Central Railroad and proved himself a master in the art of portraying the energy and power of the steam locomotive at work. To see some examples, please follow this link. After the war he was employed by the Budd Company of Philadelphia as regular illustrator for their magazine advertising. Working for Budd was a step down in terms of subject matter from the sublime super-powered steam locos of the New York Central to the modest world of commuter trains and suburban highway developments. Today’s images all show stainless steel bodied trains in the landscape in all seasons. As others have observed, Ragan was a master-interpreter of cloudscapes producing almost hallucinatory visions in which vast scoops of apricot and peach ice-cream float through the heavens. In a future posting we will explore the Ragan vision of suburbia.