The House of Illustration revisits the work of an iconic American illustrator in an amazing exhibition called ‘Mac Conner: A New York Life‘. The show opens this month in London and will go on until the end of June 2015. The museum is a stone’s throw away from Kings Cross and St Pancras International stations – ideal for an artsy visit before you hop back on the train.
Mac Conner, a leading figure of American advertising
Born in 1913, McCauley ‘Mac’ Conner moved to New York where he became a prominent illustrator – working for the country’s leading ad agencies and magazines. He is an iconic figure of American advertising. He was most prolific during its heyday, between 1940 and 1960. Along with other Madison Avenue professionals, he shaped the aesthetic of the American Dream in advertising. This generation inspired the creators of the hit TV series, Mad Men.
His work was commissioned both for editorial and advertising purposes. The exhibition focuses on Mac Conner’s life and professional success. He has worked for numerous print magazines and advertising agencies. His work and his technique are at the centre of this exhibition. With the subsequent rise of the radio and television, illustrators gradually became less and less in demand.
The show was first presented at the Museum of the City of New York in September 2014. It has just been brought to the UK where it will run until June 2015. Over 70 illustrations are showed at the House of Illustration along with a video interview of Mac Conner from last year.
Conner’s illustrations were hand-painted using gouache. Women are a key focus of his work mainly because they were the target or audience this content was aimed at. The Mac Conner women are gracious, classy and elegant. The illustrations’ realism is striking! The use of vibrant colours and the dramatic expression of each character are his signature style.
The House of Illustration is the brainchild of a British renowned illustrator
The House of Illustration opened in July 2014. It is located just off St Pancras International station. This small art gallery is the brainchild of Sir Quentin Blake – who has illustrated most of Roald Dalh’s children’s books.
Good to know
The exhibition Mac Conner: A New York Life will run until Sunday 28th June 2015 at the House of Illustration.
House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, Londres, N1C 4BH.
Opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Closed on Monday.
Nearest tube station: King’s Cross.
Adult ticket : £7.00
Child ticket : £4.00