Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Wallace Smith

I first came across Wallace Smith's illustrations for Ben Hecht's 1922 novel Fantazius Mallare in this post at {feuilleton} from 2007. These are some of the most extraordinary post-Beardsley/Harry Clarke type drawings I've seen, but frustratingly there was very little else to be found by or about Smith. Thankfully the whole book is now available at Archive.org, and Golden Age Comic Book Stories posted many of the images. There's also an article here with a few other pieces by Smith, including the one for Hecht's The Florentine Dagger at the top of this post. According to the article, "the illustrations he provided for his own books and for the newspaper columns and stories he wrote were competent but very conventional", but even so it would be nice to see more of his work.

Thanks to everyone who's been spreading the word about Cardboard Cutout Sundown. Happy new year!


  1. I love the Hecht quote about Huysmans mentioned in the Caxton article. Great post, I kept missing this artist.

  2. Thanks again. You know, I sometimes think I'm just filling in a few gaps left by {feuilleton}, AJRMS and others - not that I'm complaining! I've discovered so much stuff in the last couple of years I sort of feel like I need to assimilate my influences all over again.

  3. Wallace Smith regularly contributed illustrations along with written columns to the newspaper that Hecht published, The Chicago Literary Times. I've assembled images of these pages into a pdf as part of my research for a doctoral dissertation on Hecht. Other artists who contributed regularly were Stanislaus Szukalski, Herman Bosse and George Grosz.

    I can try to send you the pdf through gmail, but it's a complete archive of the paper, so the file may be too big. Alternatively, I can just send you a few of Smith's cartoons and columns. They poke fun at bohemia and are pretty amusing. Write and let me know what you want: jsgorbach@gmail.com -- Julien