Monday, June 2, 2014

Constantin Alajálov for Aqua Velva

In the 1940's and later, Aqua Velva marketed its after-shave with celebrity endorsements from prominent men--artists, writers, actors, military leaders, and even tenors. Included on the list were artist Norman Rockwell, who illustrated some of the advertisements, and James Thurber, who did not. Although portrayed as members of an exclusive club, these celebrity endorsers would have been extremely difficult to gather for a group photo. One could photograph an actor like Burgess Meredith on his own, but to depict a substantial gathering of celebrity Aqua Velva club members would take an illustrator. An anonymous illustrator tried his hand at this in 1942, but a far more successful attempt was made by Constantin Alajálov in 1947, who caricatured seven famous "members of the world's most distinguished After-Shave Club" in color. For good measure, Alajálov, like Rockwell, was included as a "fellow-member."

Artist Unknown, Advertisement, Aqua Velva
, November 25, 1942

Constantin Alajálov, "Here's YOUR INVITATION to join one of the world's foremost clubs."
Advertisement, Aqua Velva
Life, October 27, 1947

Burgess Meredith
Advertisement, Aqua Velva
Life, June 5, 1950

Note:  This blog now has a ridiculous number of posts featuring the work of Constantin Alajálov. I don't think anyone else is doing anything like this at the moment.

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