Will Bradley, American Artist

Artists tend to shake things up. Sure, plenty of artists just create comfortable images and sell them to keep bread on the table.

Some artists change our perceptions of art, what it is, how it works, how we should respond to it.

Will H. Bradley is the American artist most closely associated with the Art Nouveau movement in America. His series of covers for INLAND PRINTER in the 1890's revolutionized Americans' expectations of what should be on the cover of a magazine. His posters were a major factor in the poster craze of that same period.

Some References on Will H. Bradley

  • Will Bradley: His Graphic Art. Dover Publications, 97 pages (1974). Softcover, 12.2 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches. Leading American designer of Art Nouveau and among first to realize its commercial possibilities. 97 examples of Bradley’s finest work as artist, illustrator, type designer, advertiser, and printer. Eight plates reproduced in full color; 19 in two colors. Autobiographical notes.

  • Will H. Bradley : American Artist in Print: A Collector's Guide by Robert Koch. Hudson Hills Press (2003). Hardcover; 208 pages. "This comprehensive book brings together all of Will H. Bradley's finest printed oeuvre in a single volume. Nearly 200 illustrations reveal his fertile imagination, incomparable sense of design, and unmatched wedding of art and typography."

  • Artists, Advertising, and the Borders of Art by Michele H. Bogart. University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (November 8, 1997). Paperback: 444 pages. "Michele H. Bogart explores, in unprecedented detail, the world of commercial art--its illustrators, publishers, art directors, photographers, and painters. She maps out the long, permeable border between art and commerce and expands our picture of artistic culture in the twentieth century. From the turn of the century through the 1950s, the explosive growth of popular magazines and national advertising offered artists new sources of income and new opportunities for reaching huge audiences. Bogart shows how, at the same time, this change in the marketplace also forced a rethinking of the purpose of the artistic enterprise itself. She examines how illustrators such as Howard Pyle, Charles Dana Gibson, and Norman Rockwell claimed their identities as artists within a market-oriented framework. She looks at billboard production and the growing schism between "art" posters and billboard advertisements; at the new roles of the art director; at the emergence of photography as the dominant advertising medium; and at the success of painters in producing "fine art" for advertising during the 1930s and 1940s."

  • Art Nouveau: A Research Guide by Gabriel P. Weisberg and Elizabeth K. Menon. Garland Publishing (February 1, 1998). Hardcover: 387 pages. A rather serious reference book, with full title "Art Nouveau: A Research Guide for Design Reform in France, Belgium, England, and the United States (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities)."

  • Will H. Bradley: A Bibliographical Guide by Anthony Bambace. Publisher: Oak Knoll Press (July 1, 1995). Hardcover: 216 pages. [Special Order Item]. From the Oak Knoll description: "A giant in the design field, Will H. Bradley (1868-1962) became and is still widely regarded as one of the masters of book, magazine and graphic design during the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts periods. His typographic and illustrative work pushed the boundaries of these fields into new directions. In addition, his re-introduction and use of Caslon type heralded its popularity ad garnered reviewers' praise. Oak Knoll Press now publishes this title for those interested in the design of books, magazines and printed material of the period. The guide also includes 261 illustrations including his designer's marks to help identify his pieces for the art student or historian, art reference librarian and the Bradley collector, making this book an ideal source for such work. The guide itself includes a Book Worksection containing three parts: one of 81 definite books of Bradley's own execution, one listing those exhibiting the Bradley stamp but with no confirming documentation and one listing those using his designs but were probably not produced by him. The remaining sections document magazine covers, advertisements, illustrations, posters and other works such as programs, catalogues, cards, bookplates, calendars and broadsides among many more examples of Bradley's work."

Will Bradley:
His Graphic Art


Will H. Bradley:
American Artist in Print


Artists, Advertising,
and the Borders of Art


Art Nouveau:
A Research Guide


Update history:

  • 1 September 2020: Updated links and made compatible with new display system software.
  • 12 December 2006: Updated with more information.
  • 29 April 2005: This page created.