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AUTO HISTORY

Motor Illustrator: Gustav Michelson

March 1915 Cover. A smartly dressed young woman leafs through an Automobile Show catalogue while other attendees mill around new cars shown behind her.

March 1915 Cover. A smartly dressed young woman leafs through an Automobile Show catalogue while other attendees mill around new cars shown behind her.


Illustrator/cartoonist Gustav Erhard Rudolph Michelson (February 4, 1884 — March 7, 1964), of Swedish extraction, was born in Riga, Latvia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1893, settling in Boston with his family. He may have gotten his artistic leanings from his father John, a wood carver. He attended the Boston Latin School and New York's Art Students League. By 1904, he was working as an artist with The Boston American. For that and other papers like Morning World and The World, he worked in the editorial department illustrating news articles and features and, at times, drawing courtroom scenes for criminal cases. He also drew the comic strips "Mrs. Neighbourly" and "The Wonder Girl's Diary". His illustration work for magazines included publications like Harper's, McCall's, Puck, Every Week, and Motor Print. Illustration work for sheet music adorned such numbers as "My Gal", "Nanook", and "In China". And he illustrated at least one book, 1916's Jinks and Betty.

During the twenties, the lure of working in the movie industry attracted him to Hollywood where he painted movie posters for Pathe and Columbia. Some of his more famous works, simply signed with an "M", were for Mack Sennett and Hal Roach comedies as well as Paul Terry cartoons. He was a member of the California Art Club.

In the late forties, he retired from commercial art and began painting portraits instead. His last residence was in Queens, New York.

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