Story illustration, three men questioning boy.
Born in San Francisco, Amos Sewell was a ranking California tennis player in his 20s when he suffered several ignominious defeats at the hands of Donald Budge, who would go on to win titles at Wimbleton and the U.S. Open in the 1930s. Convinced he was, ahem, in the wrong racket, he quit the sport to take a position in a bank for several years. Evenings were spent studying art, and vacations consisted of trips up and down the Pacific Coast, sketching and etching. In 1931, in the middle of the Depression, he decided he was tired of banking and hopped on a lumber boat bound for New York, via the Panama Canal. Like many illustrators of the time, he got his first freelance illustration assignments from the pulp fiction world, doing inside magazine illustrations for Street & Smith Publications in New York. In 1936 he did his first major work for The Country Gentleman and began working for the Post on a regular basis the following year.
Explore related art collections: Magazine Stories / Children / Dark/Somber / Drama / Men / Women as Subjects / $100 - $5,000 / 1940s
See all original artwork by Amos Sewell
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Amos Sewell had a special empathy for children and also particularly enjoyed depicting homespun, rural subjects. These special gifts were ideally combined in the illustrations he made for a series of stories about Babe, Little Joe, Big Joe, and Uncle Pete by R. Ross Annett that ran for over twenty years in The Saturday Evening Post.
Sewell was born in San Francisco and studied nights at the California School of Fine Arts, working days in a bank. After some years of this, he decided to try his luck as an illustrator in the East. To get there, he shipped out as a working hand on a lumber boat going by way of the Panama Canal.
In New York, he studied at the Art Students League and at the Grand Central School of Art. Among his teachers were Guy Pene DuBois, Julian Levi and Harvey Dunn. At the same time, he began to draw black and white dry-brush illustrations for the Pulp magazines.
He illustrated his first major manuscript for The Country Gentleman in 1937; next came The Saturday Evening Post, for which he subsequently also painted many covers. This led to commissions from other national magazines. Sewell also illustrated for many major advertisers, and his work won awards from the Art Directors Clubs of New York and Cleveland, were exhibited at the Society of Illustrators, and included in traveling exhibits both here and abroad.