Early California Antiques Shop

Joseph E Frederic - Divorce - Original Illustration Art 1940s P2938

Regular price $250.00

With overlay. The central figure is clearly modeled on the sensitive child actress Virginia Weidler who memorably played the part of a child made very unhappy by her parents' divorce in "The Women".

Art measures 12" x 17"

Virginia Weidler with Norma Shearer in 1939's "The Women."


Joseph E. Frederic (1916 – 2005) was an American commercial illustrator based in Rochester, New York, who enjoyed a nearly 60 year career.  When not producing advertising or communications pieces for clients, he painted city streetscapes, harbors, landscapes and people, for pleasure, as a watercolorist.  Geographies he frequently recorded included Rochester, Boston, New England, Quebec and San Francisco.

Early life:

Frederic was born in New York City in 1916 and later moved to Rochester with his family.  His father was a green grocer.  Frederic started sketching as a teenager, and was largely self-taught.  He took art classes at Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology), and the Chicago Art Institute. Extremely talented, Frederic got his first job as an artist, at Eastman Kodak, retouching photographs, at age 19.

World War II:

Frederic’s art career was temporarily disrupted when he was drafted and then subsequently deferred for being nearsighted.  Too embarrassed to return to Kodak, he then found a job as an artist with Stromberg-Carlson, a telecommunications contractor for the military.  Frederic produced detailed pen and ink drawings for technical operations manuals, airbrushed photographs and even produced cartoon panel style training manuals for the U.S. military.  When he was drafted a second time, he received a standing deferment because of his talented service to the military contractor.  During most of the war, Frederic worked in New York City for Stromberg-Carlson.


After the war, Frederic returned to Rochester, and hung out his own shingle as a commercial artist.  He handled the print advertising for local major department stores including McCurdy’s, B. Forman and Edwards.  He also designed those store’s distinctive logos.  In the early 1950’s, Frederic was put on retainer as the corporate artist for Rochester Gas & Electric, a position in which he served for nearly 40 years. He handled many RG&E’s internal and external corporate communications pieces and facilitated their printing.  Frederic also fielded commissions from other notable, local companies including Xerox Corporation.

In 1968 he was commissioned by the Rochester Red Wings, the local minor league baseball team, to produce a, now famous, painting of Silver Stadium, to honor General Manager, Morrie Silver, for having saved baseball in Rochester.  The Commissioner of Baseball was on hand when Frederic presented the painting to Silver.  The baseballs stadium was renamed Silver Stadium and the Commissioner of Baseball thanked Silver for purchasing the team from the St. Louis Cardinals, and keeping baseball in Rochester.  Frederic’s detailed watercolor rendition of Silver Stadium still appears on the 2018 website of Rochester Community Baseball.

In the early 1990’s several of Frederic’s more famous painting of classic downtown Rochester, from the 1950’s, were featured on a 24” x36” full color calendar produced by the Rochester based, Alling and Cory paper company.

Frederic was a talented sketch artist, painter, air brush artist and graphic letterer.   When not producing very detailed commercial illustration pieces he enjoyed producing looser watercolor or watercolor/acrylic paintings.  Although these pieces were looser, his attention to detail was never lost.  Frederic produced well over 500 paintings in his career.

Artists Frederic admired include fellow illustrator Norman Rockwell, vivid expressionist painter Leroy Neiman, and movie poster artist Jack Davis, who is probably best known as the illustrator for Mad Magazine.  He admired Rockwell for this ability to singularly capture American culture and Nieman for his simplicity and color.  Artist Ralph Avery, was a local contemporary of Frederic, and the two shared a similar style.

Source/Submitted by:  Jeffry A. Frederic (the artist's son)

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