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 Richard (Harry Richard) Black  (1922 - 2014)

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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: commercial art, teaching, portrait and landscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Richard Black
Facts/Data
Birth
1922 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
 
Death
2014 (Kettering, Ohio)

Lived/Active
Ohio

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commercial art, teaching, portrait and landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist.

Richard Black, 92, Artist Who Conjured ‘Mr. Clean,’ Dies
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
APRIL 2, 2014

Richard Black, a commercial artist who illustrated the original Mr. Clean, Procter & Gamble’s trademark “genie in a bottle,” died on Sunday at his home in Kettering, Ohio. He was 92.
His death was confirmed by Denise Weaver, the associate pastor at Mr. Black’s church, Fairmont Presbyterian.

Mr. Black had worked for Shell Oil, Frigidaire and other companies when Procter & Gamble contacted him in the mid-1950s about drafting a marketing character named Mr. Clean for a new detergent-based household cleaner.

The company had the idea that the product cleaned “like magic,” said Tricia Higgins, the communications manager for the brand. “Of course magic from a bottle has to be represented by a genie,” she added.

The company envisioned a bald man with a nose ring. Mr. Black submitted two depictions of a smiling, strapping genie, one with a nose ring and one with an earring. Procter & Gamble chose the second one.

The first Mr. Clean products were introduced in 1958 with a radio and television ad campaign. The Mr. Clean character has promoted the product line ever since.

Harry Richard Black was born in Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University before serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Afterward he opened a studio in Dayton, Ohio and taught art part time for decades at the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College.

His wife, Virginia, died in 2003. His survivors include three sons, Richard, Christopher and Timothy, and seven grandchildren.

Mr. Black was also a portraitist and landscape painter. A biography on his website said that one of his landscapes, depicting animals, appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1956 and caught the eye of an Interior Department official.

The official recruited Mr. Black to paint another emblematic character, the wildfire prevention mascot Smokey Bear.


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