Bath Gallery showcases New York City’s neglected 20th-century fashion illustration


A shopping gallery in Bath, UK, specializing in the little-known field of fashion illustration, is behind a major non-commercial exhibition in New York. Connie Gray, founder of the Gray MCA gallery, co-curated the exhibition Fashion illustration: the visionaries, a century of illustrations from the Frances Neady collection at the Society of Illustrators (until March 7).

The exhibition includes 63 copies dating from the 1920s to the present day by artists such as Harvey Boyd and René Bouché, known for his works in Vogue from the 1950s. Works on display also include Carl (Eric) Erickson’s portrait of the Countess of Munoz (1928) and Antonio Lopez’s portrayal of the aviator Amelia Earhart made in 1978 for the Bloomingdales commercial.

All of the pieces on display are taken from the Frances Neady collection of original fashion illustrations held in the Special Collections of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. A spokesperson for Gray MCA said the gallery sits on the FIT advisory board.

The Neady Collection was created in 1983 by Rosemary Torre and Frederick Bennett in memory of Frances Neady, professor of fashion illustration, who served on the faculties of FIT and Parsons School of Design for 40 years.

Fashion illustrations were ubiquitous in the fashion press until the early 1970s, when photographic images began to fill the pages of magazines. Connie Gray, who founded Gray MCA 12 years ago, says: “Fashion illustration has never sought to compete with fashion photography, rather it seeks to tell a story with an intensity and elegance that leaves to his audience the space to complete the picture in his imagination. . “

Meanwhile, pieces can be purchased at the Drawing on Style exhibition which opens in Mayfair, London on September 10. Original works by illustrators such as Bouché, René Gruau, David Downton and Bil Donovan will be presented by Gray MCA (price between £ 1,200 and £ 20,000).

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