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An example of work by Lloyd Norman Rognan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Lloyd Norman Rognan was born of Norwegian parents in Chicago on June
14, 1923, eighteen years before America’s entry into World War II.
According to his biography, Lloyd did all of the classic things that
boys would do growing up in the 1930’s: movies, Tom Mix and other
personalities on the radio, baseball, fights and later, girls. And all
the while he sketched and drew and dreamed of being an artist.|
His early inclinations were toward illustration. In high school, Lloyd
illustrated the covers for the school play’s printed program, and was
in charge of the artistic design for his school’s yearbook. Even then
he was a perfectionist in his work.
For his last two years of high school, he transferred to Lane Tech, a
college preparatory high school known for its emphasis on arts study.
As Lloyd’s drive to create intensified, he wanted to drop out of school
and pursue his career as an artist. Instead, by graduation time, he had
also completed two years of study with the WPA art student project.
It was around this time that he received one of his first requests to
produce a portrait. Lloyd’s father, an opera singer, had a friend named
Knute Hansen who was a concert conductor. Knute asked Lloyd to create a
likeness that could be used in printed publications and programs. At
eighteen years old, Lloyd was flattered by this request and the piece
was finished within half an hour. Forty-two years later the portrait
re-surfaced when Mr. Hansen donated it to Vesterheim Norwegian-American
Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Unbeknownst to Lloyd, his work had been
accepted to a museum collection.
After that portrait was created in 1941, Lloyd attended the American
Academy of Art for two years. From 1943 to 1946 he served with the
armed forces in Europe and, true to his calling, worked as an
illustrator for the Army newspaper Stars & Stripes. He also earned
extra money sketching portraits for fellow GI’s to send to their girl
back home. But being an artist didn’t spare him from seeing action and
he was sent into battle where he lost many of his best friends in a
very short time. After three years, three months and three days, his
service was over and Lloyd Rognan was himself the recipient of a Purple
Heart. With his honorable discharge in 1946 Lloyd was now an aspiring
young artist in Paris, France.
He immediately found work with Elle magazine and took up studies at The
Acadamie De La Grande Chamiere, finishing in 1949. Lloyd embraced
French life to the fullest. He spoke the language (one of four he could
speak fluently). He’d had no problem landing illustration work,
although in true artist fashion he earned just enough to keep hope
alive. According to an April 1946 LIFE magazine article about Lloyd and
other ex-GI’s in France, he earned around 9,000 francs per month or
approximately $3.00 a day. That wasn’t much, but he was in France and
doing what he loved.
The good news was that as a result of the article in LIFE, a Paris
publisher contacted Lloyd and hired him for his best gig yet, creating
cover illustrations for a French version of Ellery Queen’s Mystery
Magazine. That assignment lasted for three years and set the tone for
his future career. Other Paris projects that we know of included the
illustration of a French paperback titled Black Arrow. The original
illustration painting for this piece survives as the earliest known
example of his original artwork.
In 1950, Lloyd returned to the States to polish his skills a bit more
at the Chicago Art Institute, which he did from 1951 to 1953.
From ’53 to early ’55 he worked for the advertising agency of Jahn
Ollier. By late 1955 he was married, living in Glenview Illinois,
and a free lance full time artist on his own. Glenview was the home of
Bill Hamling’s Greenleaf Publishing Company. Time and again Lloyd’s
work appears on the covers of Greenleaf titles such as Rogue magazine
(an early contemporary to Playboy ), Imaginative Tales, Imagination,
Fate and others. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s he stayed busy
creating artwork for magazine covers, magazine ads, magazine stories,
jigsaw puzzles, calendars, encyclopedias, film strips, pin ball games
and more. His subjects included Science Fiction, Pin-up Girls, Cowboys,
Santas, Children, Americana, History, Biology and Nature. Golden Book
encyclopedias illustrated with his artwork could be found in virtually
every American household. Bruce, Lloyd’s son, liked to ask new friends
and girl friends if they had an encyclopedia set. Almost every time he
could proudly show them his father’s work.
In the 60’s and 70’s, the Rognan creative output continued. He
introduced a line of hip, fun greeting card illustrations that survive
as great period pieces. He also launched a Hillbilly humor calendar
concept for Brown & Bigelow called Corn Squeezins that ran for
nearly two decades.
Throughout the 1990’s, in his “retirement” Lloyd created large, sunlit,
complex compositions filled with characters and activities on and
around the American Farm and he created strong images of the American
West, a long held dream. In this period, he was also commissioned by
Pickard to execute a series of paintings on the history of
transportation. These works are perhaps some of his very best. Then,
suddenly, after sixty years of creative output, Lloyd stopped painting.
His health failed and Lloyd passed away on February 6, 2005.
Source: Dirk Soulis, January 2006
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