Friday, July 10, 2015

Artist and Fashion Illustrator Ted Manser

The career of artist and fashion illustrator Ted Manser spanned five decades and included
illustrations and layouts advertising women's fashion for many well-known department
stores.  A wide range of Manser's works (including the sketches here) are featured in
Manser Fashion Illustration (1940s-1960s), on display through September, 2015 in the lobby
of the Blagg-
Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU.  Photograph by Sandy Cochran.
July 9, 2015.  
Peanut butter and jelly.  Bogey and Bacall.  Fashion illustrator Ted Manser and the post-war advertising of women's fashion. Some things go together so well, they seem meant to be.

Before photography and digital graphics replaced hand-drawn illustrations, before television and computers surpassed newspapers for commercial advertising, there was the life's work of artist and fashion illustrator Gordon Edward "Ted" Manser.

A fashion illustrator in New York and Philadelphia for over 50 years, Manser had a flourishing career in commercial art at the height of the post-war advertising boom.  His illustrations and layouts of women's fashion populated the ads of many well-known stores, including Lord & Taylor, Altman’s, and JC Penney in New York; and Hess Brothers, Strawbridge & Clothier, and Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia.

The Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus is proud to present Ted Manser Fashion Illustration (1940s-60s), an exhibit highlighting many of the garments, styles, designers and department stores featured in Manser's work.  An overview of the department store's evolution provides historical context; photographs from the personal collection of the Manser family round out the exhibit's offerings.

An amalgam of art, fashion design, marketing and social history, Ted Manser Fashion Illustration (1940s-60s), curated by the staff of the TWU Libraries' Woman's Collection with pieces from the Ted Manser Collection, is available for viewing in the library's lobby through September, 2015.  The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular operating hours.  A current TWU ID is required for entrance to the building after 9 p.m. 

Artist and fashion illustrator Ted Manser in 2009.  Image courtesy
of the Manser family personal collection. 
Ted Manser was born on June 17, 1919 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  He attended The American Academy of Art in Chicago, and from 1941-45 served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator and instructor in Canada, England, India and Burma.  After the war he began his career with Montreal's Henry Morgan & Co., and in 1950 he emigrated to the U.S. with his wife Wendy to attend The Art Students League of New York.  After a career in department store and freelance commercial art spanning more than five decades, Manser retired.  Freed from commercial constraints, he continued to paint, primarily at Hunter College, producing a substantial corpus of innovative figurative, abstract and geometric works.  Some of these later pieces were included in an exhibition entitled Vibrance held at Sarah Lawrence College in August, 1996, and at Bronxville Women’s Club later that year.  In 2003 Manser and his wife relocated to Plano, Texas.  He passed away in 2010 at the age of 91. 

Many of Ted Manser's illustrations (including the sketch here) are
featured in 
Ted Manser Fashion Illustration (1940s-1960s), on dis-
play through September, 2015 in the lobby of the Blagg-
Library on the Denton campus of TWU.  Photograph by Sandy
Cochran.  July 9, 2015.  
"I am excited about the possibilities that the Ted Manser Collection provides for our students, faculty members, and researchers," says Kimberly Johnson, Coordinator of Special Collections for the TWU Libraries.  "The richness of Ted Manser's talent, and his skill as an artist, are his legacy to the world of art and fashion.  I am delighted we can play a part in the sharing of that legacy."

The TWU Woman's Collection is the largest depository in the Southern United States of research material about women.  Plans for the collection include the creation of a Ted Manser Digital Archive spotlighting Manser's artistic talent and historical impact on women's fashion. 

More photographs of Ted Manser Fashion Illustration (1940s-60s) are available on the TWU Libraries' exhibit page.

~Sandy Cochran with Kimberly Johnson

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