Motor Illustrator: F. L. Stoddard
June 1910 cover. A young blonde woman dressed in a green gossamer floral dress, a floral wreath encircling her head and arms extended to shake petals from scarves held in each hand, rides a unicycle with large dragonfly-like wings. Several cars follow behind.
Frederick Lincoln Stoddard (March 5, 1861-February 24, 1940) was born in Quebec, Canada but had emigrated to the U.S. by 1886 when he started a stained glass business in St. Louis. After selling that business, he traveled to Paris in 1891 to study with painter/etcher Jean-Joseph Constant and painter/sculptor Jean-Paul Laurens. By 1894, Stoddard was back in St. Louis as a staff artist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Determined to produce large murals, he studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and began painting commissions to produce murals in hotels, theatres, City Halls, libraries, schools, churches, etc. Working with a rich color scheme and heroic and allegorical figures, he completed large-scale, multi-part murals. By 1898, he had joined the Society of Western Artists.
From at least 1902 to 1905, he also taught art courses at Washington University on stained glass, decorative arts, design, mural painting, and illustration. 1904 was an important year for him in that he won a silver medal for a mural he painted on the great dome at the St. Louis World's Fair, and he began working in New York City and spending summers in Mount Kisco, New York.
From about 1908 to 1912, he illustrated magazine covers for such publications as Cosmopolitan, Hampton's, Hearst's, and Motor Boating. His cover illustrations for MoToR appeared from 1909 to 1912. In February 1913, he had a show of paintings and pastels at Powell Gallery in New York City. He was a member of the North Shore Art Association and the Salmagundi Club (center for American art since 1871), and exhibited throughout the early 20th century.
His numerous covers for MoToR illustrated a range of subjects. Here are brief descriptions of some of them: February 1909 — A strikingly colorful Egyptian pharaoh; May 1909 — two Japanese geishas in a motor car; June 1909 — Two angels on a flying unicycle; July 1909 — rear view of Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam riding in a patriotically-decorated car; December 1909 — turkey adorning front of car where a couple costumed in medieval clothes dip their fingers into a punch bowl; February 1910 — woman seated on a car throne holding a model car on a pillow; March 1910 — couple driving on a snowy night catching a rabbit in their headlight beams; May 1910 — woman at tiller, driving electric car; February 1911 — Cupid within a heart; April 1911 — devilish woman in red, driving; May 1911 — spooning couple parked by the water on a moonlit night; December 1912 — Santa on a sled.
Return to The Art of MoToR Magazine