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Jerome Snyder

NOVEMBER 27, 2006
Snyder's signature faceted style of color is evident in this (admittedly poor) scan of a Santa dressed as an aviator.
Jerome Snyder was an illustrator and art director whose work I dearly love but have found little evidence of it on the web. I'm trying to rectify that with a gallery of images that accompanied an article in CREATION Magazine #12 (1992). An essay by Lou Dorfsman accompanied that feature. [Below is the text of Dorfsman's appreciative (but not very informative) essay]

"Jerome Snyder"
by Lou Dorfsman
© 1992 CREATION Magazine issue 12, 1992

The commercial/marketing environment usually demands and requires "short term" results in its employment of the skills of design, advertising and illustration. In most instances these conditions create ephemeral results. It is therefore the rare exception of work which demonstrates timelessness and integrity. Jerome Snyder's art exhibits these qualities of "staying power."

Snyder was  a man of of superior intellect which he mixed in equal amounts with wit, wisdom, craft and skill. Central to his process was the "idea of an idea." Good ideas enjoy a long life, and represented on these pages are examples of Snyder's thinking coupled with his extraordinary craft. Some pieces shown here were produced about forty years ago and the most recent about fifteen years ago, and yet it all holds up!

Not shown here is the product of Jerome Snyder as Art Director of Scientific American and Sports Illustrated, two distinguished U.S. publications. His literary accomplishments are absent as well, although his literacy is evident in many of his illustrations.

His artistry mirrored his personality as art invariably mirrors the artist. The multi-faceted skills and intelligence of Jerome Snyder are amply reflected in his whimsical, painstakingly careful paintings and drawings.

One sees in an earlier period of his work, drawings of rather abstract shapes and forms where the influence of Miro and Gustav Klimt is visible. Invariably, they delineated humorous and decorative objects, figures or both. Upon closer look one notes larger forms are composed of a myriad mosaic of countless multi-colored smaller forms that are further made up of gemlike, multi-colored forms within multi-colored forms. A Snyder pointillism of sorts.

A delightfully squat shape is revealed as a figure with a face somewhat flesh-colored. But upon closer observation the skin tones turn out to be composed of triangular or square or rectangular shapes made up of bits of pink, yellow, red, probably green, purple and blue.

Another side of Snyder is his delicate and extremely meticulous line drawings. The absence of color provided him with the opportunity to, demonstrate his control of line, his studied craftsmanship, and his thoughtfulness of interpretation as well as  a surprising ability for caricature.

The third aspect of Snyder's art is a later development. A new mood evolves. Refreshing naturalistic paintings of nature's bounty: fruit, fish, flowers, crustaceans --a sudden beautiful realism executed with a sure lightness of touch, in color and rendition. A demonstration of enormous technical facility combined with a poetic reality.

In short, Jerome Snyder has left a legacy of the picture and the word in vibrant unity…of the seminal artist, writer, teacher, whose perceptions were at once intellectual and aesthetic. His art in line and language, exuding clarity and wit. He moved his art from visually brilliant fantasies to neo-classical nature studies --without dropping his 4H pencil. He accepted his talents, he mined his resources, and he used them both for lasting performance.

Topical: Recommended