Wishing You Serenity (with an Illustration by Helen Dryden)

Cover, Delineator Magazine, November 1926. Illustration by Helen Dryden.

Cover image, Delineator Magazine, November 1926. Illustration by Helen Dryden. [The cover shows damage near the model’s left eye.]

Far from being a giddy flapper, this young woman looks thoughtful, but serene.

Born in 1887, artist Helen Dryden began working for Vogue in 1913, but it’s clear that she was a “pioneer” twentieth-century working woman, always in tune with her times.

The Vintage Traveler posted this Vogue Christmas cover from 1917, also by Helen Dryden, and several of her stylized  Art Deco illustrations for Aberfoyle textiles, from 1928. A search for “Helen Dryden illustrator” images will lead you to many examples of her work.

Dryden was a very prolific illustrator, painting dozens of covers for Vogue and for Delineator magazine, and also working as a costume designer on Broadway.

Helen Dryden Cover illustration by Helen Dryden, Delineator magazine, July 1929.

Helen Dryden, cover illustration, Delineator magazine, July 1929.

Born in the previous century, she adjusted brilliantly to the aesthetics of the nineteen-teens, twenties, and thirties. Cover of Delineator magazine, September 1928. Illustration by Helen Dryden.

In addition to working in fashion illustration, she was active in industrial design. As a designer/illustrator for Studebaker automobiles, she was reportedly paid $100,000 per year. Her name featured prominently in Studebaker ads.

An advertisement for the 1937 State President proclaims, “Glorified inside and outside by the genius of Helen Dryden’s styling, the State President belongs in the upper brackets of fine car luxury from its tiny fender lamps to its chromium strip running boards and its costly custom pillow type upholstery.” — Ed Heys, writing in Hemmings Classic Car.

You can read all of Ed Hey’s excellent article, “Helen Dryden, Pioneering Gatecrasher of the Boys-Only Industrial Design Club,” by clicking here. There is a slide show of Dryden and her work for Studebaker.

Dryden also designed everything from textiles, to Art Deco bathroom faucets, to a battery operated candlestick/lamp, while doing industrial design for the Dura company.  Click here for those extraordinary faucets.

Art Contrarian’s blog post about Dryden gives an idea of how well she adapted her style to the times. If you’re hungry for more Dryden images, the Art Admirer blog has some beauties.

I think that lovely young woman in the black fur coat looks both serene and intelligent — and inspiring.



Filed under 1920s-1930s, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture

6 responses to “Wishing You Serenity (with an Illustration by Helen Dryden)

  1. I love her work and was fascinated by her break into the industrial design community. A woman to admire!

  2. rockyspace

    Just a thank you for a great year of fascinating posts! Always an education and a source of inspiration. Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks for this info and the links! I’ve also been interested in Helen Dryden for a while.

  4. Pingback: A One-Trunk Vacation Wardrobe Designed in Paris, March 1927 | witness2fashion

  5. Pingback: Fingernail Polish Ads from 1917 to 1937 | witness2fashion

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