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AUTO HISTORY

Motor Illustrator: Louis Fancher

April 1909 cover. Drawn in yellow tones, this is a depiction of a Western motoring couple (well-dressed and wearing pith helmets) somewhere in a Middle Eastern desert. The man is standing, holding a guide book, and asking for directions. A local man riding a camel points the way. In the middle ground, a young boy leads a veiled woman sitting on a donkey, and the background shows a mosque with minarets surrounded by a crenellated wall.

April 1909 cover. Drawn in yellow tones, this is a depiction of a Western motoring couple (well-dressed and wearing pith helmets) somewhere in a Middle Eastern desert. The man is standing, holding a guide book, and asking for directions. A local man riding a camel points the way. In the middle ground, a young boy leads a veiled woman sitting on a donkey, and the background shows a mosque with minarets surrounded by a crenellated wall.


Louis Delton Fancher (December 25, 1884 — March 2, 1944) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a family of French Huguenot descent, but he was raised in Chicago. Eventually he settled in New York, though he was also active in San Francisco. He trained in New York at the Art Students League as well as in schools in Paris, Munich, and several Italian cities. A serious artist, he studied with noted American illustrators Henry Siddons Mowbray, Robert Henri, and Kenyon Cox and had an early office at Carlton Studios in New York's Flatiron Building. He was a commercial artist, illustrating books and magazines but was best known for his excellence with posters, expertly blending color and unusual tones with a deft hand and modern sophistication. As a member of WWI's Division of Pictorial Publicity, he produced several war-time propaganda posters.

He drew advertising campaigns for Nettleton shoes, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Willys-Overland, Omar Turkish cigarettes, Hamburg-American cruise line, Firestone tires, and others. Additionally, he painted for Eastern Film Studios and produced a number of early film posters.

In 1921, he joined Bartlett-Orr Press as artistic consultant. That firm produced high-level advertising materials, including color catalogues, for automobile companies. By 1926, he had joined the staff of Calkins and Holden, a firm some call the first modern advertising agency and one which helped make Pierce-Arrow popularly known as an elite motor car.

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