Fan Magazine Fun: “Cut-Out Caricatures” And Other Century-Old Art

Haven’t done one of these posts in awhile! It’s time to poke through the ol’ antique fan magazines and see what they’ve been hiding for 90-100 years. Today, let’s focus on those artsy illustrations!

These charmers are from a two-page spread in the November 1923 issue of Motion Picture Magazine, called “Cut-Out Caricatures.” Well whaddaya know, this minimalist style just happens to be all the rage today:

So that’s Nita Naldi, Buster, Richard Barthelmess, Norma Talmadge, Mary, and Doug, respectively. Let’s not forget Bull Montana, because I almost did:

Cut out Bull Montana

The illustrator went by “Kliz.” His full name was George H. Clisbee, and he apparently was born in Chicago, studied art in Paris, and created illustrations and ads for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Photoplay,, among others. He eventually became a regular at the Cleveland Daily News and died in 1936. Little did he know I’d one day be awkwardly clipping his illustrations for my blog!

I came across this beauty in the June 1923 Motion Picture Classic–at first glance I almost thought it was a fancy retouched photo of Gloria, but no, it’s an exquisite drawing:

Gloria portrait drawing MotPicClassic June '23

Here’s another neat drawing of a fancifully-detailed Marion Davies, from the 1920 Who’s Who on the Screen:

Marion Davies drawning WhosWho 1920

Lots of detail in those ringlets! This was drawn by Nell Brinkley, who had a forty-year career illustrating newspapers, magazines, and the occasional book with a unique Art Nouveau flair. Her detailed, sprightly flapper drawings were known as “Brinkley Girls.”

This illustration is awesome, it’s a “shadow drawing” using only little lines of different thicknesses and strategic blank spaces. Coming to us courtesy of a 1917 Motion Picture Magazine:

How unique is that? I’ve always liked that portrait of Mae, too.

These are fab–they were illustrating an article called “Hungry Hearts of Hollywood,” covering what the stars secretly dream of doing rather than, you know, being world-famous Hollywood personalities. Doug would (supposedly) like to try his hand at screenwriting:

IFWerentActors doug MotPicClassic '23

Mary has secret aspirations to be a painter, or so the article says:

IfWerentActors pickford MotPicClass '23

And D.W. Griffith would like to be a playwright, which I think was actually true (at least in the Biograph days). I’m thinking cinema was a safer choice, fame-wise:

IfWerentActors griffith MotPicClassic '23

Mickey Mouse gloves! Hey, we all call them that now.

The magazine Shadowland was chock-a-block with artsiness of all kinds–I could do several posts of goodies from it alone. It covered film, art and dance from 1919 until 1923, when it was absorbed into Motion Picture Classic. Here’s a cover:

It had a lot of beautiful photography, and, uh, this kind of stuff too:

Somehow, I don’t think Gareth Hughes would’ve been pleased.

Alrighty, that’ll do for now. Let’s end with a saggy elephant bottom! (Also from Shadowland.)

Hee hee–that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d type. Have a fine day, everyone!

6 thoughts on “Fan Magazine Fun: “Cut-Out Caricatures” And Other Century-Old Art

  1. I really enjoyed this!
    There isn’t enough Bull Montana art in the world, in my opinion. 😉
    I had to look up Gareth Hughes- those eyebrows are pretty spot on, it seems!
    I think Doug the Screenwriter is my favorite, though. He even types with gusto! Lol!

  2. I love these illustrations! You can also see that Hergé’s ligne clair has a firm rooting in 1920s drawing styles, like those drawings of D.W Griffith and such. But those cut-out caricatures are the top!

    • Aren’t they cool? They’d look nice as framed prints.

      You know, it’s amazing what a huge influence comic strips and illustrations had on pop culture at the time. For instance, I strongly suspect that studying early 20th c. comics would unlock the ultimate set of cheat codes to understanding silent comedy. 😉

  3. A lot of cool art here. I keep hoping to find a stack of dusty Shadowland magazines at a garage sale or thrift store. Dream on!!

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