CHSO April 2012 : Page 76

76 | the RADAR | Art What a Character! It took him 20 years, but after delving into his father’s belongings, Chicago native Mark Redman was surprised to find more than just boxes and bills. | By Wendy Bowman-Littler | | Photography by Sarah Dorio | When his father, caricaturist Leonard “Lenn” Redman, died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at age 75, Mark Redman didn’t have the heart to go through the 100-plus boxes and varied pieces of furniture bequeathed to him. Instead, he asked a cousin to pack up the belongings in his father’s Los Angeles apartment and ship them to him in Georgia. Everything eventually ended up at Redman’s home on Lake Lanier, where it sat untouched in a storage room for 20-plus years. “My father gave what little money he had to charity, so I thought I was just stuck with boxes and bills,” says Redman, who grew up in Evanston, graduated from Southern Illinois University and later moved to Georgia to work as a special education teacher. Busy at his job and raising a family over the years, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Redman found some downtime to sit and go through everything. That’s when the 59 year old (now an information technology salesman) discovered that his father had left him the things he loved the most. From 200,000-plus caricatures of people from all walks of life to thousands of other pieces of art Drawn to it Mark redman (including vintage Hollywood movie maintains his star pictures, many autographed) and father’s archives other collectibles, the younger Redman at his home in Georgia. now possessed the entire outcrop of his father’s more than 50-year career as a caricaturist, animator and artist. “I sensed he was looking down on his only son— 24 years after his death—finding out what he was hoping to have communicated to me. It is my legacy to bring his artwork to the public,” Redman says. Since discovering the treasure, Redman has used his spare time to inventory, digitize, frame, archive and organize his father’s collection to create various exhibitions. He also hopes to pursue licensing opportunities and to sell reproductions, if needed, to help fund the massive project. A legend in his field, Lenn Redman was born in Chicago in 1912, attended local schools and began apprenticing as a caricaturist during the Great Depression at outdoor art shows in continued... | April 2012

The Radar Art

Wendy Bowman-Littler

What a Character!

It took him 20 years, but after delving into his father’s belongings, Chicago native Mark Redman was surprised to find more than just boxes and bills.

When his father, caricaturist Leonard “Lenn” Redman, died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at age 75, Mark Redman didn’t have the heart to go through the 100- plus boxes and varied pieces of furniture bequeathed to him. Instead, he asked a cousin to pack up the belongings in his father’s Los Angeles apartment and ship them to him in Georgia. Everything eventually ended up at Redman’s home on Lake Lanier, where it sat untouched in a storage room for 20-plus years.

“My father gave what little money he had to charity, so I thought I was just stuck with boxes and bills,” says Redman, who grew up in Evanston, graduated from Southern Illinois University and later moved to Georgia to work as a special education teacher.

Busy at his job and raising a family over the years, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Redman found some downtime to sit and go through everything.

That’s when the 59 year old (now an information technology salesman) discovered that his father had left him the things he loved the most. From 200,000-plus caricatures of people from all walks of life to thousands of other pieces of art (including vintage Hollywood movie star pictures, many autographed) and other collectibles, the younger Redman now possessed the entire outcrop of his father’s more than 50-year career as a caricaturist, animator and artist.

“I sensed he was looking down on his only son— 24 years after his death—finding out what he was hoping to have communicated to me. It is my legacy to bring his artwork to the public,” Redman says. Since discovering the treasure, Redman has used his spare time to inventory, digitize, frame, archive and organize his father’s collection to create various exhibitions. He also hopes to pursue licensing opportunities and to sell reproductions, if needed, to help fund the massive project.

A legend in his field, Lenn Redman was born in Chicago in 1912, attended local schools and began apprenticing as a caricaturist during the Great Depression at outdoor art shows in Grant Park. In 1933, at age 21, he started his professional career by drawing live caricatures for audiences at the Artist Colony during Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s Fair. He lived and worked in the Windy City until the mid ’60s, opening the Lenn Redman Commercial Art Studio and diff erentiating himself in the advertising field by becoming one of the first to humanize animals and inanimate objects for local and national corporations such as Illinois Tool Works, Walgreens, Time Inc. and Th e Saturday Evening Post.

He also found time to teach at Th e Art Institute of Chicago, as well as to entertain and perform at nightclubs and on TV and radio. He drew uncanny renderings of people who called in to Jack Eigen’s radio show, broadcast from Chicago’s glamorous Chez Paree nightclub—a feat that was chronicled in a March 1958 article in the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine titled “Do You Look Like Your Voice?” He even filled in as illustrator of the Tribune’s “Mary Worth” comic strip for two weeks in 1942.

Lenn went on to become a nationally known caricaturist—drawing clever renditions of both everyday people and celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe— and also an animator (he worked on Fantasia for Walt Disney), artist, author, poet, illustrator, entertainer and civil rights activist.

“He loved to entertain and make people laugh. I know he’s smiling down, watching me go through all this,” says Redman, who has already scanned and framed around 100 pieces. “Both the main level and first-floor levels of my home are completely filled. I will definitely be at the top level before it all is done.”

The Lenn Redman Collection

Mark Redman has broken down his father’s collection into the eight different portfolios listed below. He plans to create a family foundation with his daughters— Lauren Crump and Jacque Redman—and to assemble a team of supporters and curators to help take the collection to the next level. Art students from Brenau University in Gainesville, Fla., already have started assisting in these efforts. Lennredman.com

1 Caricatures More than 200,000 everyday people (his son’s favorites) and celebrities (including one of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in the ring after knocking him out) drawn from the 1930s to ’80s.

2 Animation Various characters drawn through the ’60s for L.A. studios Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. and Filmation Assoc., plus cels and roughing sheets.

3 Fine Art Includes paintings in oils, pastels and acrylics, showcased by oil paintings of Albert Einstein and the Harry James Orchestra.

4 Abstract Art Caricatures Drawings incorporating caricatures of artists like Salvador Dalí, Picasso and Henri Matisse into their own artwork.

5 Commercial Art Ads created in his Chicago studio in the ’40s for top American companies such as Walgreens and Westinghouse.

6 Civil Rights Movement Sketches of U.S. activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. And James Baldwin drawn in the ’60s.

7 Illustration Art Includes the What Am I? Series based on a poem he wrote in the early ’70s to help off set national and ethnic prejudice. It was later illustrated in books and large-format color prints and published in 1980.

8 Collectibles Reference materials Redman saved from the ’30s to ’70s, from Hollywood celebrity photos to magazines and art books.

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Art/1019239/105903/article.html.

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