The Future We Were Promised.
Radebaugh was a top-notch commercial illustrator who worked for companies as diverse as Chrysler and Coca-Cola. He was based in Detroit from the 1930s to 1960s, and much of his work anticipated design revolutions in the automotive and other industries. He once described his work as "halfway between science fiction and designs for modern living."
Radebaugh settled long-term roots in Detroit. He drew ads for major companies from Coca-Cola to United Airlines. As often as not, however, he left art directors and other potential clients utterly befuddled by his futuristic stylings.
His colleagues describe him as a bit of a loner, but also a kind and debonair man who knew how to be flashy and exotic. He once returned from a business trip in New York wearing a monocle, which he sported along with other outlandish garb: capes, jodhpurs and various strange hats.
Radebaugh's virtuosic airbrush technique created luminous illustrations which conveyed the sleek, streamlined look of the future. From flying cars to glamorous skyscrapers, his renderings were both pragmatic and fantastical, showing possibilities unimagined, derived from the technology of the day.
Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised is a career-spanning overview of the recently rediscovered artist's illustrations, cartoons and biography.
Arthur Radebaugh, 1906-1974.
In the years before his death, Radebaugh slowly faded into obscurity. After he passed away, he was forgotten by all but a few curious individuals who saw his old ads or magazine covers.
In 2001, 25 negatives of Radebaugh's work surfaced in the collection of historian Todd Kimmell. Todd decided to track the elusive illustrator down, mounted an exhibit of his work, is writing a book, and continues to seek out information on this forgotten genius...
-- Dan Heemstra, for his dedication to this project, and for access to his collection.
-- Rachel Mackow, for her diligent research, critique, and guidance
-- Hampton Wayt, for his expertise and extensive research
-- Jim Secreto, steadfast chronicler of Detroit automotive history
-- James Lewes, for his early input and for the exhibit title
-- Kristin, Thornton and Ellis Kimmell
-- Francis Purcell, for his support
-- Jonathan Sher, for his support
-- Henry David, for his support
-- Amanda Mahoney for her help in creating the first exhibit
-- Tom, for his help at Lost Highways
-- The Inn at Ferry Street, for deep discounts on our research trip to Detroit
-- Tom Nash and John Lypen at MoToR Magazine, for their generous permission to reprint some of Radebaugh's finest work
-- Mark Patrick, Laura Kotsis and the entire staff at the Detroit Public Library Automotive History Collection, for their extensive help in our research
-- Phil Mooney, Director of the Coca-Cola Archives
-- David Ryan, at the Minnesota Institute of Arts
-- Brandt Rosenbusch at the Chrysler Museum
-- The staff at the Hagley Museum
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