Top Hats and Flappers: The Art of Russell Patterson

Front Cover
Shane Glines, Alex Chun
Fantagraphics, 2006 - Art - 182 pages
0 Reviews
The definitive collection of a legend from the golden age of magazine illustration.

Imagine America in the 1920s, the last stand of the Golden Age of Illustration and a time of tremendous social change. On one side of Paradise were the nationally known illustrators like Charles Dana Gibson, James Montgomery Flagg, and J.C. Leyendecker. But rapidly gaining in popularity were the young irreverent illustrators/cartoonists who worked for the emerging humor magazines Judge, College Humor, Ballyhoo, and Life.

These artists attempted to capture the verve and excitement of their times with an energetic line and frenzied pen-and-ink panels containing multitudes with the settings and dressdowntown speakeasy or uptown Stork Club, hot jazz bands or windy jump seats, slinky dresses set against top hat and tailsjust as revealing as the lost souls of the Lost Generation.

Of these young ink-slingers, the one who came closest to capturing this white-hot age was a handsome man out of Omaha and Chicago named Russell Patterson. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Patterson didn't vanish after the Stock Market Crash in 1929. He just found new ways to keep his high style in front of a public desperate for light entertainmentin newspaper strips, magazine covers, posters, costumes and set designs for Hollywood and Broadway, amusement parks to WAC uniforms, all the way to the Atomic Age.

One of the most influential artists of his generation, Patterson's impact spanned decades. The list of Patterson's "alumni" ranged from virtually every published pin-up cartoonist to notables like Walt Disney and Hugh Hefner, who noted it was Patterson, not John Held, Jr. or F. Scott Fitzgerald, who best defined the strut and fret of American life between the two World Wars.

Along with an introductory essay by illustration art historian Armando Mendez, this volume showcases Patterson at his pinnacle, featuring many his most important and dynamic magazine covers and illustrations.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

10 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Russell Patterson was born in 1896 and passed away in 1977. He lived most of his life in New York, NY. An art historian at heart, Oregon-based Shane Glines is best known as a comic book artist and character designer for the various "Batman" animated cartoons. Alex Chun lives in Los Angeles where he edits pin-up cartoon books for Fantagraphics and occasionally writes articles for the "Los Angeles Times".

Alex Chun is a longtime journalist living in Los Angeles. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, he is currently a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times where he covers pop-culture. He also edits a series of art books for Fantagraphics. In his spare time, he collects original cartoon pin-up art and maintains the website His books include The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo (two volumes), The Pin-Up Art of Bill Wenzel, The Pin-up Art of Bill Ward, The Glamor Girls of Don Flowers, The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward, Classic Pin-Up Art of Jack Cole, and The Pin-Up Art of Humorama.

Bibliographic information