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 Albert Staehle  (1899 - 1974)

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Lived/Active: New York / Germany      Known for: illustrator, active dogs

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Ad Code: 4
Albert Staehle
from Auction House Records.
A Reluctant Butch
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Albert Staehle, the illustrator made famous by the Smokey the Bear character for the National Forest Service and many other advertisement illustrations, including a long run for Carter's Ink (cats), Swan Soap (swans), and Imperial Whiskey (various wildlife), was born in Munich, Bavaria in 1899.  The artist moved to New York City in 1914 when his father, an American newspaper illustrator, relocated the family.  Albert Staehle attended The Art Students League and studied under George Bridgman.  He later studied with Hans Hofmann in both New York and at the Wicker School of Art in Detroit.  At age 16 he was working as a commercial artist.

In 1932 Staehle opened Kent Studios in New York with Albert Dorne, a noted American illustrator. The studio became one of the most successful art studios in New York City.

Staehle's drawing of a cow feeding her calf from a bottle of milk  won a poster competition in 1937and has been credited with being a precursor to the Borden's campaign.  Elsie the Cow went on to become a household name across America. Staehle received numerous commissions for animal illustrations and was awarded the Kerwin Fulton Award for "The Advancement of Art in Outdoor Advertising" for three years in a row. His advertisements which always included animals graced the billboards of the nation's highways.

Staehle is also known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, which often were of his beloved cocker spaniel, Butch. Butch appeared on twenty-five covers in five years and was number one in newsstand sales. Butch and Staehle did much work for charity, and in 1956 Butch was named the mascot for the United States Navy and appeared on recruitment posters.

During War World II Staehle directed his work to the war effort and was responsible for the creation of Smokey the Bear.

After three short and unsuccessful marriages early in his career, Staehle found happiness in his marriage to Marjory Houston, a photographer, in 1956.  The couple relocated to North Miami, Florida and had four daughters.

Albert Staehle died on April 4, 1974 in Florida.

Illustration, Issue Number five, January 2003
Additional information courtesy of Sharon Damkaer, author of Albert Staehle and Cover Boy Butch: A Biography and Collectibles Guide

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