Reynold Brown “Covered Wagon Leave-taking” P636

A dynamic and animated scene of a family in a covered wagon getting under way to join a wagon train and leaving home, by one of America’s most influential and admired illustrators. All the elements of story-telling are effortlessly put in play, every person is emotionally alive and engaged in their private drama… the new born baby being handed up to its mother, the little boy saying goodbye to a horse, the hired guide in his buckskins and knotted red kerchief wondering how these tenderfeet are going to cope with the rigors of the journey ahead, the herd of cattle following the wagon, this family’s capital, their bet on the future: no one is unaware of the odds against them, or not convinced of the necessity to push westward. The atmosphere of mingled sadness and excitement is perfectly rendered, the open way, the new land, and the life left behind.

Reynold Brown (b. William Reynold Brown in Los Angeles in 1917 – d. 1991) was a prolific American realist artist who drew many Hollywood film posters.

He attended Alhambra High School and refined his drawing under his teacher Lester Bonar. A talented artist, Brown met Hal Forrest, who hired him to ghost draw the comic strip Tailspin Tommy from 1936-1937. Norman Rockwell’s sister was a teacher at Alhambra High, and Brown later met Rockwell who advised him to leave cartooning if he wanted to be an illustrator. Brown subsequently won a scholarship to the Otis Art Institute.During World War II he worked as a technical artist at North American Aviation. There he met his wife, fellow artist Mary Louise Tejeda. Following the war Brown drew numerous advertisements and illustrations for magazines such as Argosy, Popular Science, Saturday Evening Post, Boy’s Life, Outdoor Life, and Popular Aviation. Brown also drew paperback book covers. Brown taught at the Art Center College of Design where he met Misha Kallis, then an art director at Universal Pictures. Through Kallis, Brown began his film poster work starting with The World in His Arms, then did the art work for many film posters, including:

Poster art. A giant woman clad in a white bikini straddles an elevated, 4-lane highway. She has an angry expression, and she's holding one smoking car in her left hand as if it were a toy. She is reaching down to grab another. There are several car crashes on the highway, and people are fleeing from her as if they were small insects.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • Tarantula (1955)
  • This Island Earth (1955)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  • I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
  • Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • The Land Unknown (1957)
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
  • Ben-Hur (1959)
  • The Atomic Submarine (1959)
  • Spartacus (1960)
  • The Alamo (1960)
  • The Time Machine (1960)
  • King of Kings (1961)
  • How the West Was Won (1962)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
  • Shenandoah (1965)

Brown’s original painting for the poster of The Alamo hung for many years at the actual Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. He suffered a severe stroke in 1976.  that left his left side paralyzed and ended his commercial work. But with the help of his wife, Brown continued to paint landscapes until his death.

In 1994, Mel Bucklin’s documentary about Reynold Brown entitled The Man Who Drew Bug-Eyed Monsters was broadcast on US public television. A book reproducing many of Brown’s artworks, Reynold Brown: A Life in Pictures, was published in 2009.

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