The Reilly League... Fixler, Faragasso

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  1. #1
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    The Reilly League... Fixler, Faragasso

    So, when I research the Reilly League, I always enter into a whirlwind of confusion and I'd like to get things clarified.

    Frank Reilly studied at the Art Students League under DuMond among others. But the tale of his drawing style is that when he showed his drawings to Dean Cornwell, Dean told him, "now you are ready to draw." This means that Cornwell was doing something different than the average run of the mill academy teacher. Cornwell studied with Dunn and considered himself a grand pupil of Howard Pyle's. It is unknown whether what Cornwell knew was actually descended from Pyle.

    There is no record that I can find that Reilly actually studied with cornwell except on a one to one basis as they were neighbors in their appartment building. And since Dean Cornwell did not write a book, we are only taking Reilly's word for it. I don't doubt his word, however.

    If you look at Reilly's work, it becomes obvious that he was a competent illustrator, but he was not Cornwell, Rockwell, Leyendecker, Wyeth, etc.

    But he knew some good information and produced professional level work. When I look at Glen Orbik or Greg Pro's work and many others coming through Fixler, I see the information working at full speed.

    Fred Fixler's notes are fantastic and sound like real information and Fixler's artwork is very professional as well.

    There is also Cesare Borgia and a guy named Schultz, but I never can find work by them. Regardless, the people who now control the Reilly League website seem to have only the barest commonality with the Fixler-Orbik wing of the party.

    When looking at the old brochure of Reilly's school on Leif Peng's Flickr archive, the names on there of Don Winslow, James Bama, Olivetti, etc... are all top quality pros. Very much like Orbik, Westermoe, Chen, etc..

    It seems when Reilly died there was a split in the league.

    Can anybody shed more light on this tangle?

    kev

    Last edited by kev ferrara; March 4th, 2009 at 11:36 PM.
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  4. #2
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    I can't help but I can share your frustration. Faragasso is fine for what he is (I do wish he'd reprint his painting book), but I've actually seen nothing of Fixler's approach. This is probably due to never wandering down to California.

    I've heard Orbik teaches out there, and given time and spare monies, I'd make the effort to study down there.

    ~R

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    rpace, fixler's notes are online and are very good indeed...

    http://www.nasonart.com/writing/fixlerlessons.html

    It seems Faragasso was more interested in organizing the palette into tones and usable colors. Whereas fixler was more bottom up and taught skills that were more foundational.

    EDIT: This is the most comprehensive online view of the method: http://www.dhfa.net/Artiststatement2.html

    Last edited by kev ferrara; February 27th, 2009 at 01:08 PM.
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    Thanks Kev!

    Pinning these up next to my drawing table.

    ~Richard

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    To clarify some terminology...
    There was no "Reilly league." Reilly taught at the Art Students League for many years (taking over for Bridgman in the 30's) and then, after a falling out with the League, started the Frank Reilly School of Art which functioned until his death in '67. After Reilly's death, Faragasso returned to the Art Students League, where he still teaches. The "Reilly League of Artists" in Westchester was founded by former students, but, as far as I know, has no more official imprimatur than any other group or school.
    Over thirty-some years Reilly had hundreds, perhaps thousands of students, and many went on to teach his system, some with great fidelity, some with extensive modification. The West Coast branch, through Fixler, seems to focus more on the structural drawing elements, while the East Coast branch seems to focus more on the controlled pallette. Other Reilly students who went on to teach include Ted Seth Jacobs (although he reacted very strongly against the systematics of Reilly's approach), John Murray (on Long Island, and then at SVA for several years), and Michael Aviano.

    There are a bunch of Reilly threads on CA if you search for them.

    Last edited by Elwell; January 14th, 2011 at 11:11 PM.

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    Thanks Tristan. That clarifies much.

    So was there any compositional teaching taught by Reilly, or was it all figural? I've read Joesph DeVito saying "picture making" was a large part of the teaching, but there doesn't seem to be any info online about it. Joe DeVito writes, "I attended the Art Students League and dabbled in the Riley Method of painting, which emphasized a controlled palette, value relationships and strong picture making. The latter two things are what it is all about for representational art. The method is similar to what the Golden Age illustrators like Pyle, NC Wyeth and Rockwell used and is the same one used today by James Bama, Bob Maguire, Roger Kastel, and many other great illustrators. "

    But I almost never hear about the "strong picture making" part. Is that just a reference to keeping values simple and contrasts highest in the effect areas?

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    Whenever I read "strong picture making" I really get the sense it was referring to really basic composition, and, like you said, simple values higher contracts in specific, controlled areas. It seems so under-discussed that I feel they were talking almost dismissively in same way people say "learn your ABCs". If I'm wrong I really want to know what they meant, of course.

    Um -- I checked out that Reilly League. Based on the little work shown it really doesn't look like they're keeping the fire alive.

    ~R

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Thanks Tristan. That clarifies much.

    So was there any compositional teaching taught by Reilly, or was it all figural?
    ***
    But I almost never hear about the "strong picture making" part. Is that just a reference to keeping values simple and contrasts highest in the effect areas?
    According to a post in this thread by a former student, much of the material in The Art of Color and Design by Maitland Graves derives (uncredited) from lectures on composition and picturemaking Reilly gave at Pratt in the 30's. I don't have any independent confirmation of that, but it's a good book, and certainly in keeping with Reilly's approach. There's also an American Artist article on Reilly from the forties that has examples of his thumbnails and preliminaries. He started very abstractly.
    Another compositional element Reilly emphasized was the importance of edge control, and how interrelated values, edges, and contrast are. Most of the material in my Edges thread comes originally from Reilly.

    Last edited by Elwell; February 26th, 2009 at 10:53 PM.

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    That's enough for me to buy now a copy of that book from ebay.

    Damn -- your depth of knowledge is simply astounding sometimes!

    ~Richard

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    rpace, the maitland graves book is available as a pdf. Unfortunately its not in color and you can barely see the designs.

    For those following along here's the link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/yxzmxnmh9ub

    I've also heard it was stolen from Reilly's lectures. A quick online search revealed, possibly, that Maitland Graves is a female, born in 1902 and still alive.

    EDIT: Rpace, if you order it online, be aware that only the 1941 version has color, the 1951 edition is all black and white. This is my understanding anyway.

    Last edited by kev ferrara; February 26th, 2009 at 11:38 PM.
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    Thanks Kev-- I'm addicted to actual books, though.

    I guess having the colour and being able to see the designs will help some.

    ~Richard

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    EDIT: Rpace, if you order it online, be aware that only the 1941 version has color, the 1951 edition is all black and white. This is my understanding anyway.
    I have the '41 edition. Only a few figures are in color.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I ordered the '41 edition, guess I lucked out with that one being the most affordable copy on ebay.

    ~R

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    So was there any compositional teaching taught by Reilly, or was it all figural?
    All I can pitch in, if it is any help, is that the 'how to do it' books of Charles Reid, who was I believe, a student of Reilly, mention him a lot and these books do contain some basic compositional tutoring, not in the usual 'thirds, golden section, strong triangle etc' stuff but how to control shape transitions by edge control, thereby the eye's movement around the picture and some things about value co-ordination to tie the composition together. Whether this is credited to Reilly I cannot remember.
    Worth having a look at, but I may be wrong about the Depth of Reid's involvement with Reilly since I read these thing a while ago and.....well.....I'm British you know! These schoools played only the smallest part in my university art education, and that by way of my own interest in American illustration.
    Anyway, hope it might help in some small way ....possibly.

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    Here's what Ted Seth Jacobs had to say: "FJR didn't talk a lot about composition. I guess he was more focused on teaching us his method of working on the figure However...I do remember, for about a week, we had an assignment to do at home. We were told to make a completely abstract composition, about 3 x 4" in color, using only abstract shapes, and arranging them in some sort of composition. Basically, blocks of colored values."

    He also says "FJR introduced me once to Dean Cornwell. My Mom was a fashion artist, and in her youth, before I was born, shared a studio in Greenwich Village with Leyendecker."

    For those who are interested, Ted Seth Jacobs' book on structure is "now available for advance purchase, for delivery March 31st at:
    tedsethjacobsnewbook@yahoo.com." I assume you should first inquire about price.

    kev

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    This is very interesting guys, especially since Im planning to do a 4 year Ccertificate of Completion at ASL, where Faragasso is teaching. From what I gathered though, is Faragasso's method somehow "inferior" to Reilly's method? Are there any other "direct descendants form Reilly or Fixler at the League?

    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

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    Faragasso's method is Reilly's method. Faragasso isn't Reilly, of course, and it's impossible for nothing to change in forty years, but his main emphasis has been preserving Reilly's teaching.


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  26. #18
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    timpaatkins... hitting the Art Students league is a great idea and the Reilly pre mix method is a fantastic tool and works like charm. I am sorry if I was giving the impression that what Faragasso was teaching was somehow inferior material. The man is a goldmine of information and he carries on the tradition of being "able to teach a wooden indian to paint."

    Last edited by kev ferrara; February 28th, 2009 at 10:12 AM.
    At least Icarus tried!


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  28. #19
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    Just wanted to say thanks guys Great discussion , this is why I love Ca.

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    Large preview of Doren's The Artist's Atelier on google books:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=rTv...od%22#PPA63,M1

    Book purports to be all reilly method stuff, inexpensive book to purchase. Sections on composition missing from preview... Interesting bit on drapery "no parallel lines" when drawing drapery.

    Abstractions of the face look good: http://www.artformstudios.net/atelier.htm

    Can purchase here: http://www.artformstudios.net/book.html

    Last edited by kev ferrara; February 28th, 2009 at 11:43 AM.
    At least Icarus tried!


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  30. #21
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    Kevin Chen has mentioned some of reilly's abstractions in his classes too.

    Here are some face abstractions by Kevin Chen, maybe usefull for some.

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    Last edited by Jonas Heirwegh; February 28th, 2009 at 12:39 PM.
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  32. #22
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    Another thing to consider if purchasing "The art of color and design" is the 1941 edition only has 292 pages, and the 1951 has 439. I ordered the 1951 version a few days ago, I didn't know about all this related stuff, good stuff.

    Sketchbook

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    here's a couple of Fred's drawings from his school in the West and a couple drawings from Reilly's classes out in the East dated around 1949.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Large preview of Doren's The Artist's Atelier on google books...
    There appears to be an ebook version of this available for download that only costs $10. Might be worth checking out.

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