Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hockey Illustrator : Part One

Having the ability to standout and make a first impression on a magazine shelve goes a long way in determining success or failure for a publication. A distinctive factor can sway the naked eye in one direction over another. In the world of hockey magazines during the 1950's, there was nothing better than a Tex Coulter cover to capture a consumers attention.

DeWitt "Tex" Coulter was born in the State of Texas in 1923. Raised on football, he played college ball at West Point, then played professionally for the New York Giants in the NFL. During a brief retirement in 1950, Coulter joined the Dallas Times Herald as a cartoonist. However, he wasn't able to shake the game of football out of his system, and returned to play an additional 5 years with the NY Giants. At the conclusion of his NFL career, Coulter signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. He remained in Canada after he hung-up his football gear for good and continued with his second passion in life - painting.

Tex Coulter's striking portraits of hockey players were truly a work of art. His attention to detail and brilliant strokes of colour put him at the top of his field in the Canadian sports media industry. The simple "Tex" signature on a canvas or magazine cover was the only identification required. His full-length and close-up portraits followed a trend unique to the era. The Saturday Evening Post had some artist known as Norman Rockwell, and hockey was fortunate enough to have Tex Coulter.

Here are some examples of his work.

Jean Beliveau, Montreal, March 1957

Lou Fontinato, New York, January 1958

Henri Richard, Montreal, October 1958

Fleming MacKell, Boston, November 1958

Dick Duff, Toronto, January 1959

Andy Bathgate, New York, February 1959
A longing to return home had Tex Coulter moving to Austin, Texas after 20 years of residing and working in Canada. He established himself in another venture - the home building business. DeWitt "Tex" Coulter passed away in 2007.

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