The papers of Cuban-born cartoonist, caricaturist, graphic designer, illustrator, and art director Abril Lamarque papers date from 1883-2001, with the bulk of the material ranging from 1904-1999, and measure 6.8 linear feet. His papers contain biographical material; correspondence; writings; files on the many seminars and workshop he taught; scattered financial records; files concerning his business Abril Lamarque Creations; subject files; clippings; printed illustrations of his comics, designs, illustrations, and other work; seven scrapbooks; two sketchbooks, sketches and drawings by him, and artwork by others, including his sister, his brother, Paul Hoffmaster, Enrique Riverón, and H. Portell Vilá; and photographs and negatives depicting Lamarque, Lamarque at work, Lamarque's magic shows, examples of advertising, and friends and colleagues.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Cuban-born cartoonist, caricaturist, graphic designer, illustrator, and art director Abril Lamarque papers date from 1883-2001, with the bulk of the material ranging from 1904-1999, and measure 6.8 linear feet. His papers contain biographical material; correspondence; writings; files on the many seminars and workshops he taught; scattered financial records; files concerning his business Abril Lamarque Creations; subject files; clippings; printed illustrations of his comics, designs, illustrations, and other work; seven scrapbooks; two sketchbooks, sketches and drawings by him, and others, including his sister, his brother, Paul Hoffmaster, Enrique Riverón, and H. Portell Vilá; and photographs and negatives depicting Lamarque, Lamarque at work, Lamarque's magic shows, examples of advertising, and friends and colleagues.
Biographical materials include of materials related to Abril Lamarque's many professional and personal associations, including the Art Directors Club, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the National Press Club, the New York University Club, the Society of American Magicians, and the Society of Illustrators. Material types include membership cards, documents, event posters, and yearbooks. Also included are some personal documents, information on Abril Lamarque and his family, Lamarque's collection of humorous business cards, and eulogies written about Lamarque.
Correspondence is generally scattered, but includes letters to and from illustrators and artists including Ernesto Garcia Cabral, Paul Hoffmaster, Conrado Massaguer, and Lamarque's brother, Juan Abril Lamarque. Some letters are illustrated. Also included is business correspondence, subjects and correspondents including the Dell Publishing Company, the New York Times, and correspondence related to workshops and lectures, including his work at Iowa State University and Oklahoma State University.
Writings chiefly document Lamarque's career in graphic and publication design, and consist of articles, an unpublished draft on publication design, manuals, and book reviews. Also included are scripts for magic shows performed by Lamarque. Writings by others are present, and include limericks written about Lamarque by friends and an autobiography of Lamarque's wife, Milagros Abril Lamarque.
The Workshops series consists of advertisements, press releases, handbooks, publication design layout examples, and other materials related to Lamarque's career in teaching publication design workshops and seminars. Also present within the collection are various financial materials. Abril Lamarque Creations materials document Lamarque's design firm, active 1940-1941, which focused on the design and manufacture of modern decorative accessories for the home, such as serving trays, cigarette holders and jewelry. Photographs, drawings, and advertisements in this series document the product design and sales.
The collection includes several subject files concerning the Bacardi Company, the Dell Publishing Company, and Cuban caricaturist and publisher Conrado Massaguer. Files on Massaguer include illustrations, posters, magazines, clippings, and articles. The Subject Files also include materials collected about Mexican caricaturist Ernesto García, self-taught Polish painter Karol Kozlowski, and several other illustrators and political figures of interest to Lamarque.
Printed materials make up the bulk of the collection. Found are numerous examples of his design work for the New York World-Telegram and Evening Mail, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, US News-World Report, Dell Publishing Company, and others; as well as cartoons, caricatures, and illustrations by Lamarque. Clippings of the comic strip Monguito and editions of the Havana newspaper Lunes de Diario de Cuba are present. Printed material also includes posters, including Lamarque's designs for the "Aluminum for Britain" project, which he was asked to discontinue by the U.S. State Department. Also found in this collection are graphic design and illustration clippings collected by Lamarque.
Also found within the collection are seven scrapbooks containing clippings and articles, illustrations, scattered letters, photographs, invitations, artwork, and other materials detailing Lamarque's extensive artistic career and his amateur magic performances.
Original artwork includes drawings, sketches, prints, and design by-products by Abril Lamarque. Artwork by Lamarque includes silkscreens of dictators; drawings and printing plates for Monguito comics; page banners for Film Fun and other publications; and design paste-ups. Artwork created by others found within the series includes caricatures of Lamarque, sketches by Juan Abril Lamarque, and prints by Paul Hoffmaster.
Photographs included in the collection document Abril Lamarque's life and career, and show Lamarque with friends and colleagues, and performing as an amateur magician for both children and adult audiences.
The collection is arranged as eleven series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-2001 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1, OV 12)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1990 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1, OV 12)
Series 3: Writings, 1925-1981 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2, OV 13)
Series 4: Workshops, circa 1940-circa 1985 (0.4 linear feet; Box 2, OV 13)
Series 5: Financial Records, 1924-1989 (4 folders; Box 2)
Series 6: Abril Lamarque Creations, circa 1940-circa 1945 (6 folders; Box 2, OV 13)
Series 7: Subject Files, 1905-1996 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4, OV 14)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1883-1989 (1.5 linear feet; Box 3, 4, 6, and 11, OV 15-17)
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1920-1959 (1 linear foot; Boxes 7-9, OV 10)
Series 10: Original Artwork, circa 1914-1988 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4, OV 18)
Series 11: Photographic Material, circa 1920-circa 1985 (0.5 linear feet; Box 5, OV 19)
Eduardo Abril Lamarque (1904-1999) was a Cuban-born cartoonist, caricaturist, graphic designer, illustrator, and art director who worked primarily in New York City.
Eduardo Abril Lamarque was born in Cuba on August 28, 1904. His parents sent him to the United States in 1916 when he was twelve to study English and business administration. He lived with an American family in Brooklyn. At age 15, Lamarque's first cartoon was published in the Boy Scout section of the New York World-Telegram and Evening Mail. Four years later he created Bla-Bla, a comic strip that appeared regularly in the New York Daily News. He is credited with creating, in the early 1920s, the first Spanish language comic strip that was not translated from English. The title cartoon character, Monguito, was a hapless soul, fully dressed in business suit and hat, who kept getting into sticky situations. Lamarque produced hundreds of these strips which were picked up by the New York based United Feature Syndicate and published daily in Spanish language newspapers throughout Latin America and the United States.
When he was twenty, Lamarque returned to Cuba to work as the artistic director for the Havana newspaper Lunes de Diario de Cuba. He also published a booklet designed to teach the elements of caricature drawing. Lamarque returned to New York and was hired by the New York World Telegram and Evening Mail as a caricaturist. He produced political cartoons and caricatures for the paper, introducing his "radiocatures", which involved providing instructions on the radio for filling in a grid in the newspaper to produce a caricature of well-known figure in the news.
In 1927, at the age of 23, he became the first art director of Dell Publishing Company - a magazine empire that included Film Fun, I Confess, War Stories, Modern Screen, Popular Song, Spotlight, Radio Stars, Theatrical Page, Ballyhoo, and Modern Romances. He continued working there for 14 years.
In 1940-1941, Lamarque established Abril Lamarque Creations, a design firm that specialized in elegant and functional household objects and jewelry in a modernist tradition. His signature piece was the Pallettray, a serving tray modeled after an artist's palette and hand-finished in exotic woods.
Between 1941 and 1946, Lamarque became the first art director for the Sunday edition of the New York Times and redesigned the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times Book Review. Throughout his career, Lamarque designed and redesigned countless magazines and journals, including American Weekly, New York News, Metropolitan Life, Popular Science, This Week, US News-World Report, and others.
In 1948, Lamarque established a successful graphic design studio in New York that provided a full spectrum of design services, including annual reports, posters, product labeling, corporate publications, advertising, logos, package designs, and brochures. His clients included Barcardi Company, Con Edison, Ericcson Telephone, General Cable, Berlitz School, Lipton, Monsanto, and numerous magazines. In 1958, he was given the National Award for Graphic Design in packaging. His design for the annual American Red Cross poster was selected for the 1948 national Red Cross campaign.
His success and high demand as a publication art director, consultant, and designer was attributed to innovative design principles he based on the German Bauhaus School and its philosophy that promoted functional design principles. Lamarque reduced these principles to a set of guidelines suitable for page design and applied them successfully to a wide variety of publication and print layouts.
Lamarque's teaching experience began in the early 1940s with seminars and workshops he conducted for the publishing industry. He joined the faculty of New York University School of Continuing Education in 1958, where he taught until 1963, and later joined the Crowell Collier Institute and taught publication design workshops across the United States and Canada. He also gave workshops and courses at Oklahoma State School of Journalism.
Lamarque was a long-time member of the Society of Illustrators, Society of Art Directors, the Dutch Treat Club, National Press Club, and New York University Club. He was also an amateur magician and member of the Society of American Magicians. He performed magic acts for the annual Christmas party of the Society of Illustrators. Abril Lamarque died in 1999 at the age of 94.
Martha Lamarque Sarno and Lita M. Elvers assembled and donated their father's papers to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in 2001.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Abril Lamarque papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.