Eugene Savage Biography

Eugene Savage (1883-1978) was born in Covington, Indiana. In 1940, Savage completed a two-year mural project for the Matson Co. to be used as menu covers for the passenger ship S.S. Lurline. He produced 4 x 8 foot murals that went right into Matson's basement, never used in the building or on the ships. The menus were never used before World War Two, because, at the outbreak of the war, Matson ships were requisitioned as U.S. transport ships. The six menu covers were finally used on the maiden voyage of the refurbished "White Ship" Lurline in the year 1948.

The original menu set consisted of nine images, three of which are rare and not seen often. In 1950, the Printing for Commerce exhibit of the American Institute of Graphic Arts honored the menu covers with its highest award, and in 1951 the menu designs were included in a display of American lithographs at the Smithsonian Institution. Due to the increased demand, Matson at that time produced a set of six prints which could be purchased from Matson Lines for a nominal charge. It is estimated that over a quarter of a million sets were printed as blanks or as actual menus. Collectors should be aware that copies are being made today of very good quality. Prices will vary according to brightness of each image, fold lines, foxing, etc. From 1948-1956, the Savage menu designs were also produced on Aloha attire.