— when you know
something about the artist.
You’ve probably noticed,
from time to time,
a group of cards
from a particular era
that share a very
and wondered about
who created them and why.
at least in the United States,
between 1910 and 1940–
— based on the fact
that he created more
than 5000 different designs,
mostly light hearted
and humorous —
Bernhardt was more
than a postcard artist.
Much, much more.
He also was very heavily involved
in American defense efforts
during the period between 1898 and 1918…
—- and upon his return took up the study of etching full time.
After education at the
Buffalo Art Student’s League
and an apprenticeship
under William Auerbach-Levy,
he soon proved himself a prolific,
versatile, and creative artist…
and he produced a large body of
propaganda during World I.
— no matter what the subject or genre —
you can usually spot a Bernhardt Wall creation.
there’s a sentimental aspect and tone
reflected in his note cards, for instance ….
and a charming style to the way
he draws his dogs in the cards with animals.
Children with wide eyes and sweet demeanors
characterize many of his cards used for Valentines…..
but his Halloween cards have a weird creepiness
that belies the era from which they come.
and they also have an innocence and simplicity
that is easy to relate to.
The majority of his work was published by Valentines and Sons,
— but he also created drawings and canvases for Gibson Art,
Illustrated Postal Cards,
and several others.
Especially talented as an illustrator and engraver,
he was also a keen reader, writer, and historian –
“The Invitation to Gettysburg”,
“Following General Sam Houston”,
A book that he personally printed
and bound himself featured his etchings
of Indians, cowboys and the frontier U.S.–
It was called “Under Western Skies”,
…… and it was extremely well received at the time.
Thomas A. Edison,
Stephen F. Austin
and George Armstrong Custer.
There is a particularly large collection
of these in the archives of Texas A&M University,
Much of this archive is also online at:
Others are also out there–
Wall was a very popular and busy guy!
Muscleheaded Blog frequent readers will probably remember–
(probably, maybe not)
and how some postcards were issued mocking the hubbub,
— with sarcastic humor and good grace —
Yes, number four
on that post was an original Walls !
And so is this one.
You can find that post here.
Bernhardt Wall died in Sierra Madre, California in 1956-
— and, by then,
modern audiences usually have their
first exposure to Wall’s work
through his very interesting vintage postcards….
And why not?
Great art is art that resonates with people —
Whether they be today,
or hundred years from now.
And I think Wall’s work lives up to that standard, and more.
Although I’m not sure about his spelling…….