St. Louis MAD Art Show

August 12th, 2008 | Posted in News

I spent the weekend before last in St. Louis checking up on my Six Flags and Union Station caricature artists. On my way to the airport I got the opportunity to stop in to the MAD Art exhibit at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild Gallery with my friend, caricaturist and illustrator Jim Batts and his friend, illustrator Rick Bernal. Sadly I had only about an hour to see the show, which wasn’t nearly enough time. The artwork on display is part of the personal collection of St. Louis artist Bob Shay, who credits MAD as a big part of what started him on the path to be a professional illustrator.

Here’s a local TV newscast story on the exhibit, with an interview with the collector:

Shay’s collection is impressive, with most pieces focusing on a small group of the legends of MAD art, including a lot of Jack Davis and George Woodbridge. He also had several pieces each from Bob Clarke, Mort Drucker, Jack Rickard, one Don Martin (just a few rough sketches as Martin’s originals are very hard to find), a Paul Coker Jr. and a few others. Not all the pieces are actually from the pages of MAD… there are examples of advertising art ond other pieces from Davis and Drucker. If his collection has a shortcoming it’s that he doesn’t have as large a cross section of MAD artists represented as he easily could. Finding originals from Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Wally Wood, Antonio Prohias, Dave Berg and some of the very early or popular MAD artists is understandably difficult, but I saw no originals from artists like Angelo Torres, Sam Viviano, Rick Tulka or Sergio Aragon?¬©s, which I thought was disappointing as their originals can be obtained without too much trouble or without a huge outlay of money. Yet he had some art by some more obscure MAD artists like Gerry Gertsen and R.J. Matson. Perhaps this is only a portion of his collection, or maybe it reflects Shay’s personal favorites, or maybe I just missed some of these artist’s pieces in some room I didn’t see… in any case it’s a pretty great show and well worth the time to see it. Here are a few pictures:

The Gallery

Nice Mort Drucker page from “Some Kinda Hero” Parody

Jack Davis caricature

Some George Woodbridge originals

Terrific Davis work from MAD

Rare Don Martin rough sketches

Jack Rickard gouache illustrations

More Jack Rickard

Looks like adverting work here… Jack Davis of course

Unbelievable watercolor by Davis

Another Davis piece… maybe for an ad or for a sports magazine

This Drucker piece is in his book “Familiar Faces”

More Jack from MAD


  1. quikdraw4 says:

    Fabulous collection! I was surprised at how large the original art was for the magazine and advertising art was.
    What’s the usual original size for a magazine or advertising original?

    In my opinion-a very sad part of the new digital art era is that original art hand drawn,colored on Bristol boards,canvas etc. will someday be extinct.

    So many artists young and old are now drawing thier art on computerized drawing tablets -with originals on a disk. Instead of going to museums to see/study the original pen/brush strokes,the feint pencil lines the artist inked over,side notes we’ll see the art digitally printed out or displayed on computer screens. Yuk.

    Getting an original from an artist meant getting a big envelope via UPS or FedEx from the artist. You felt like a kid getting a big Christmas present as you opened it-held it-studied it and got it framed and matted to hang in your home.

    In the future? You’ll get a signed disk of the orginal from the artist like a music promoter sends out free CDs from a band. oh boy.

  2. Tom says:

    I can see where you are coming from about the lack of original art in the computer age, but I can tell you from experience… at least from my perspective, that the market for original art is so bad I am thinking seriously about giving up on traditional inking and going all digital myself. I’ve got stacks and stacks of inked originals that, short of giving away, seem to have no interest to anyone. I refuse to sell them for peanuts… I’d rather keep them.


LA Workshop no. 2 underway today!

Workshops Ad

Dracula ad

Doctor Who Ad

Superman Ad

%d bloggers like this: