Webster Tobacco

Julien Binford, Untitled (people by river), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP170.
Julien Binford, Untitled (West Palm Beach), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP172.

Between 1946 and 1948, Julien Binford completed a series of print advertisements for the Webster Tobacco Company entitled the Sunday Cigar Series. The company has since gone out of business, but copies of Binford’s posters and a few of his preparatory sketches still remain today. The two drawings above depict Palm Beach, Florida, one of the settings for the series. Both sketches are labeled with their location, and the leftmost work is additionally inscribed with “Web. Tobacco Co.” at the bottom right. These sketches, along with the ones shown below, were likely done en plein air, which is the act of painting outdoors.

The pastels done en plein air show stormy skies, various species of trees, and notable structures, such as the Washington Monument and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the distance. These works were likely done at the indicated locations, and depict not only some of the many places Binford visited, but also how he would have seen them. While their forms are not rendered in perfect detail, the color shines through, giving them a lifelike feel.

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