Louis Rhead Biography

A noted illustrator of the Golden Age of Illustration from the late 19th to early 20th century, Louis Rhead was born in England, educated at the South Kensington Art School and in Paris before emigrating to New York in 1883 where he spent most of his career. He was a versatile painter, etcher, ceramic designer and book illustrator. He became famous for his poster work published in the mid-1890's for magazines such as Century, Scribner's and The Bookman. He also drew numerous posters for the New York Sun and Morning Journal newspapers. Rhead was the brother of George Wooliscroft Rhead and Frederick Rhead. In 1898, the three brothers collaborated on an edition of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. After 1900, Louis Rhead worked primarily as a book illustrator. Among the many books he illustrated are Swiss Family Robinson, Gulliver's Travels, Treasure Island and Heidi.

Rhead was one of the first poster artists to gain an international reputation. Born in England he was quite active in London, New York and Paris with equal success: his exhibition of posters in New York in 1895 was America's first, and was well received. He was heavily influenced by Grasset, whom he admired and met while in Paris. (Rennert, Poster Auctions International -XXVI 513)