FREEMAN, Don

1992.97.jpg

Description

On the Fly Rail
1934
Lithograph
16 x 18" MATTED
Black and white lithograph with multiple figures overlooking a stage scene. Figures appear to be controlling certain functions of a stage production. Signed and titled below image.

Creator

FREEMAN, Don
b. United States, 1908 - 1978
Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. After graduating high school and attending a summer course at San Diego School of Fine Arts, Don moved to New York, where he studied at the Art Students' League and developed a passion for theater. Don spent much of his time on Broadway and could often be found backstage, sketching actors and capturing everything that happened both on and off the stage in his sketchbook. He supported himself by playing his trumpet in a dance band, but after losing his trumpet on the subway Don decided to turn his attention to his sketches. During the 1930s and 40s, he was a brilliant illustrator of New York City life in the best traditions of Social Realism. His subjects were the actors and actresses of Broadway—from the LGBTQI+ icon Orson Welles to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne to the man in the street or the charwomen who scrubbed the stage after the actors and the audience went home. His cartoons and other illustrations appeared regularly in the New York Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Theater Magazine. Freeman also self-published Don Freeman's Newsstand, a short-lived quarterly magazine, each page of which was an original lithograph. Freeman was also a jazz musician and the brother of hotel entrepreneur Warren Freeman. As Freeman's career progressed, he lightened his palette and depicted more upbeat subjects. In 1951, he began illustrating children's books. He took his first step into children's literature when he was asked to illustrate for William Saroya. He quickly began writing and illustrating his own children's books, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them the stuffed, overall-wearing bear named Corduroy. He collaborated frequently with his wife, Lydia, a fellow author and artist. Don died in 1978, and his wife went on to establish The Lydia Freeman Charitable Foundation.

Source

Gift of Don Trevey to the Ken Trevey Collection of American Realist Prints

Identifier

1992.97

Citation

FREEMAN, Don, b. United States, 1908 - 1978, and Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. After graduating high school and attending a summer course at San Diego School of Fine Arts, Don moved to New York, where he studied at the Art Students' League and developed a passion for theater. Don spent much of his time on Broadway and could often be found backstage, sketching actors and capturing everything that happened both on and off the stage in his sketchbook. He supported himself by playing his trumpet in a dance band, but after losing his trumpet on the subway Don decided to turn his attention to his sketches. During the 1930s and 40s, he was a brilliant illustrator of New York City life in the best traditions of Social Realism. His subjects were the actors and actresses of Broadway—from the LGBTQI+ icon Orson Welles to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne to the man in the street or the charwomen who scrubbed the stage after the actors and the audience went home. His cartoons and other illustrations appeared regularly in the New York Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Theater Magazine. Freeman also self-published Don Freeman's Newsstand, a short-lived quarterly magazine, each page of which was an original lithograph. Freeman was also a jazz musician and the brother of hotel entrepreneur Warren Freeman. As Freeman's career progressed, he lightened his palette and depicted more upbeat subjects. In 1951, he began illustrating children's books. He took his first step into children's literature when he was asked to illustrate for William Saroya. He quickly began writing and illustrating his own children's books, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them the stuffed, overall-wearing bear named Corduroy. He collaborated frequently with his wife, Lydia, a fellow author and artist. Don died in 1978, and his wife went on to establish The Lydia Freeman Charitable Foundation., “FREEMAN, Don,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed September 28, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/2163.