Ervine Metzl
Ervine Metzl was an American graphic artist and illustrator best known for his posters and postage stamp designs.


Ervine Metzl was born in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 in 1899 to Ignatz and Bertha (Kohn) Metzl, Jewish immigrants from Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...


As a young man, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and showed an interest in poster design. In July 1917, in the midst of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 his Red Cross poster earned an honorable mention at the Art Institute
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

's Exhibition of Posters for National Service.

He created several posters for a series commissioned by the Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority, also known as CTA, is the operator of mass transit within the City of Chicago, Illinois and some of its surrounding suburbs....

 in the early 1920s. Metzl's posters, The Evanston
Evanston, Illinois
Evanston is a suburban municipality in Cook County, Illinois 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, bordering Chicago to the south, Skokie to the west, and Wilmette to the north, with an estimated population of 74,360 as of 2003. It is one of the North Shore communities that adjoin Lake Michigan...

 Lighthouse by the Elevated Lines
Chicago 'L'
The L is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority...

and The Field Museum by the Elevated Lines (featuring a toucan
Toucans are members of the family Ramphastidae of near passerine birds from the Neotropics. The family is most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often colorful bills. The family includes five genera and about forty different species...

) are still reproduced today. A 2004 exhibit in Chicago featured several of Metzl's transit posters, and the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

 art critic commented, "The boldest pieces, because they are the simplest in form and most lively in color, are by Ervine Metzl, who apparently began the series in 1921."

The cover of Fortune magazine featured Metzl's depictions of an astronomical observatory and a comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

 (July 1932) and a window washer (November 1932).

Working in Manhattan, Metzl influenced the lives and careers of other artists, as well. In the 1930s, graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

er Paul Rand
Paul Rand
Paul Rand Paul Rand Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum, (August 15, 1914 — November 26, 1996) was an American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs, including the logos for IBM, UPS, Enron, Westinghouse, ABC, and Steve Jobs’ NeXT...

's career was helped along by Metzl, who helped Rand find a position designing advertisements for a Manhattan ad agency. Metzl was also a friend of Ludwig Bemelmans
Ludwig Bemelmans
Ludwig Bemelmans was an Austrian author, an internationally known gourmet, and a writer and illustrator of children's books. He is most noted today for his Madeline books, six of which were published from 1939-1961...

, author of the popular Madeline
Madeline is a children's book series written by Ludwig Bemelmans, an Austrian author. The books have been adapted into numerous formats, spawning telefilms, television series and a live action feature film...

 books. Metzl is variously described as Bemelmans' "agent" and as his "ghost artist". It was in Metzl's studio that Bemelmans is said to have met his future wife, Madeleine "Mimi" Freund, a model. As president of the Society of Illustrators
Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators is a professional society based in New York City. Founded in 1901, the mission of the Society is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration, as well as its history...

 from 1956–1957, Metzl took a young Ron Barrett
Ron Barrett
Ron Barrett is a cartoonist and artist best known for illustrating Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He is a graduate of the High School of Industrial Art, now the High School of Art and Design, in New York City. While still in high school he was an apprentice in the studio of Lucian Bernhard, the...

 under his wing. Illustrator Gyo Fujikawa
Gyo Fujikawa
Gyo Fujikawa was an American illustrator and children's book author. A prolific creator of more than 50 books for children, her work is regularly in reprint and has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7...

 was also a friend of Metzl's.

From 1957-1960, Metzl designed ten postage stamps for the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

. One of his best known stamp designs was a commemorative stamp
Commemorative stamp
A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the...

 for the first International Geophysical Year
International Geophysical Year
The International Geophysical Year was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West was seriously interrupted...

 in 1957-1958, in which he "endeavored to picture a man’s wonder at the unknown together with his determination to understand it and his need for spiritual inspiration to further his knowledge" by pairing the outstretched arms from Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's The Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam is a section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel ceiling painted circa 1511. It illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God the Father breathes life into Adam, the first man...

 with a depiction of a solar flare
Solar flare
A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 × 1025 joules of energy . The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day...

. He also designed commemoratives for the first World Refugee Year, the Lincoln Sesquicentennial, and the 1960 Winter Olympics
1960 Winter Olympics
The 1960 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event held between February 18 and 28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. In 1955 at the 50th IOC meeting, the organizing committee made the surprise choice to award Squaw Valley as...


In addition to his stamp design work, Metzl served on the U.S. Postal Service Citizens' Advisory Committee. In recognition of his contributions, he was one of the inaugural recipients of the Benjamin Franklin Award in 1960.

He wrote wrote The Poster: Its History and Its Art, published by Watson-Guptill Publications shortly before his death.

Metzl died in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 was assassinated
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...


External links

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