Art and Architecture, Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, Chicago

Art Deco & The Chicagoan

In 1926 a new magazine graced Chicago newsstands. With its pages filled with witty cartoons, profiles of local personalities, and a whole range of incisive articles, The Chicagoan was a hit, on par with its east coast counterpart The New Yorker, which it was clearly an attempt to emulate. Yet while the New Yorker would grow to achieve a national readership, after only nine years The Chicagoan was defunct and forgotten—that is, until its serendipitous re-discovery in the stacks of the Regenstein Library by University of Chicago Professor of History Neil Harris. Now, Harris has brought the magazine back into the spotlight with The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age—a collection of covers, cartoons, editorials, reviews, and features from the magazine.
Although the book overflows with a variety of historic material from one of the most fascinating eras in the city’s history, perhaps the most interest has been generated by its lavish reproductions of the magazine’s Art Deco covers and illustrations. We’ve received more than a few requests for poster-sized prints of the book’s art, and recently the Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine even ran a feature article—written by one of the book’s contributor’s, Teri Edelstein—that focuses on the magazine from the perspective of Art Deco design. In her article Edelstein writes:

The Art Deco style permeated the entire magazine, not only for obvious subjects. Football players, dandies, golfers, and bathing beauties all succumbed to the colorful, abstracting, geometricizing treatments of Arthur Hugh Ruddy in a series of covers. The smoke from the cigarette of a blasé flapper bifurcates a black sky in Nightscape of September 24, 1927, by William Cotant, as she blankly regards a wall of buildings from the Blackstone Hotel to the tower of Montgomery Ward which stretch in orange and yellow cubes. Inflected by Parisian style, the angular Chicagoans of Mervin Gunderson vainly try to retain their hats as the wind even blows over a traffic signal in Boul.Mich from March 10, 1928.

You can check out a gallery of covers and illustrations that includes a few of those Edelstein cites on our website, as well as download these sample pages in PDF (7.0Mb), or read an interview with the author.
And no, we don’t currently have any posters for sale, but it sounds like a great idea for any savvy Art Deco entrepreneurs out there!