Mar 03 2018

Helck Family Collection:Original Illustration by the “Vermeer” of Automobile Advertising-Earle Teale

Another treasure has been discovered in the Helck Family Collection- an original illustration for the White Company created by the remarkable artist Earle Grantham Teale (1886-1919).


Howard Kroplick

The Treasure

While continuing to archive the thousands of documents, photos, artwork and letters of artist Peter Helck, I came across this box sent from the Famous Artist Schools in Westport, Connecticut to Peter Helck.

Peter Helck wrote on the box: "Teale White Motor Ads returned from Walt Reed February 14,1967."

Opening the box revealed this amazing original illustration with numerical notes. At first, I thought it was one of Peter Helck's commercial ads.

A closer look did not reveal the usual Helck signatures but a "T" on the right corner of the illustration.

A quick Google search revealed the artist was Earle Grantham Teale (1886-1919) who created a remarkable series of automobile advertising for the White Motor Car Company from 1916-1919. At the height of his career, Teale was tragically killed in an automobile accident at the age of only 37 years.

Earle Grantham Teale (1886-1919)

Walt Reed, who sent the box back to Peter Helck, was on the instruction staff of Famous Artis Schools in 1967 and later founded Illustration House, Inc. Reed authored The Illustrator in America in 1964 and revised in 1984. The work of Earle Teale was described in the book.

"Mr. Teale's work, notably in his representations of the White automobile, is said to have been influential in raising the standards of commercial art in this country"

A tribute to Earle G. Teale in the May 16, 1919 issue of The New York Times.

Printers' Ink Monthly- May 1920

Following Teale's death, the best description of his work was written in the May 1920 issue of Printers' Ink Monthly, the Advertsing Age of its day.

The article Art Technique as an Asset noted that Teale's death "stopped short one of the most remarkable commercial campaigns that the automobile industry has perhaps ever known".

"...over a period of two and half years he built up for (White) a pictorial prestige that was the envy of the automobile world".

"His paintings were distinctive. The White campaign was never confused with any other".

"A distinctive feature of every canvas was to visualize the car as dead white against dark, misty, rather sombre backgrounds, thus intensifying the machine anbd brigning its squarely up to the eye".

"And Teale had few imitators. It looked easy, but it was the despair of more than one artist who attempted the adventure. In his handling of blacks, grays and will-o'-the wisp decorative themes, he had a secret process of his own".

The Art of Earle Teale

A Teale illustration for the Rubay Carrosserie automobile.


Mar 04 2018 Larry Trepel 12:59 AM

Fascinating story, Teales work is very impressive, and sadly had his life cut short by the invention he admired and depicted.

Mar 04 2018 Hugh 2:22 AM

For the most part White was out of the automobile manufacturing business by the end of WWI. They built a few cars for large stock holders after 1920. A friend in Colorado had Mr. Whites 1915 roadster which was a special order. Yellowstone Park had several White touring cars in its original fleet that were destroyed in a garage fire. White was no longer tooled up to build cars so the contract for 7 passenger touring cars went to Lincoln. White bus models were made up to 1937 for the National Parks. The gas powered cars built from 1911 to 1918 used engine design rights bought from Delahaye of France.

Mar 04 2018 Howard Kroplick 5:28 PM

Tim Helck:

I really like this week’s posting about the artist Teale. Some of my grandfather’s advertisements from the 1920’s resemble Teale’s.

Mar 04 2018 David Schultz 9:02 PM

This is absolutely wonderful.  What an artist.  I’d seen these advertisements and admired them, but didn’t know anything about the artist.  Thank you for sharing this, Howard.

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