Jules Guérin was one of the most famous American artists at the beginning of the last century. He illustrated books but also executed important public commissions, like the murals for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.
He had a curious style — a delicate sense of color and design, influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, married to a very rigorous draftsmanship. As a design, the image above has something of the abstract quality of a Japanese woodblock print, yet it still seems to be an authoritative record of the look of the Manhattan skyline in a mist.
Guérin's color sense led to his being hired to design the color scheme of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, controlling every color choice throughout the fair, including the roofs of buildings and the uniforms of the guards. This was a break from the “White City” aesthetic of American world's fairs, established at the Chicago exhibition in 1893.
His superb draftsmanship, on the other hand, kept him busy doing renderings for architects and town planners to showcase their proposed building projects:
You won't see his paintings on the walls of your local art museum, which is and apparently always will be committed to showing you cutting edge art (more specifically, art that was considered cutting-edge around 1965), and there are no books dedicated to his work.
But he's no longer lost — thanks to the Internet. The images on this page come from various places, including a wonderful site that hosts vintage American illustrative art, Golden Age Comic Book Stories, centering on comic books but with a good sampling of classic American illustrators as well. Its latest post reproduces all of N. C. Wyeth's illustrations for Jules Verne's Mysterious Island — a really stunning collection of images.