DRAWING MASTER

 

 

It has been said that when one door appears to close, another is likely to open. So it was with Oscar’s career. While interned in Quebec, a regional news magazine, The Standard, ran a story on displaced persons at the camp. They noticed Oscar working at a drawing.

 

Soon afterwards, Ben Turner, the Art Director of The Standard began using Oscar's work in the magazine. A year later Oscar was released thanks to the intervention of several insightful individuals who had noticed the quality of Oscar's work and who were willing to guarantee the Camp Commander that Oscar could earn a living wage and would not become involved in subversive political matters. Among Cahén's early supporters were Dick Hersey of The Montreal Standard, Stan Furnival, who subsequently became Art Director of Chatelaine Magazine, and Gene Aliman of New Liberty, and later Maclean’s.

 

Before long, Oscar Cahén was busy forging a powerful reputation for being a vibrant and versatile illustrator with a conscientious and disciplined approach to all assignments. With a reputation like this, it was not surprising that Oscar was soon working for all the top publications of the day. Cahén's drawings illustrating John Hersey's Hiroshima for The Standard were noted in New York. The publishers received letters from Hersey and The New Yorker commending Oscar’s work. Cahén was increasingly recognized as a Canadian artist of remarkable talent and skill.     

 

"Illustration can be a true means of artistic expression… I think there is a growing awareness among [art directors] of their opportunity to stimulate the minds of the readers with work of intrinsic merit rather than bog them down in conventional shallowness and mediocrity""An Illustrator Speaks His Mind"

 -Canadian Art 1950

 

"It was as if one had never seen a crocus before and a flower with strength and vigour; but extraordinary delicacy thrust through the snow and winter debris of what much of Canadian magazine publishing had been. Spring arrived in Canadian illustration with Oscar Cahén – and we rejoiced."

-James Hill, CAPIC President’s Dinner 1988

 

Untitled  IMM 084, 1939

 pastel, gouache, india ink, watercolour

© 2004-2019 The Cahén Archives