Art by John LaGatta (1894 - 1977)

Art by John LaGatta (1894 - 1977)
Art by John LaGatta (1894 - 1977)
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John LaGatta came to the US as a poor Italian immigrant, but his lineage, as described by him, was illustrious. The family lived quite modestly in Long Island and his father was not successful in business activities and suffered, as many did, from discrimination against foreign accents at a time when assimilation was the only solution for new comers. It was a tough existence. John’s art talent caused several suggestions that he study under Frank Parsons at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. After he completed school, he gained his first commission for Life magazine and some advertising work for N. W. Ayer, one of the nation's early and largest advertising agencies. His images were unique and seductive, even risqué, but art directors were willing to take chances to sell magazines and products. He was soon commissioned by the Post for a cover image and then hired by US Rubber Company, his first two big breaks as an illustrator. Unlike Rockwell, Pyle, and Parrish, LaGatta did not use photography to try to capture his models on canvas. He enjoyed the banter during his sessions with his models and felt that he could better capture them for readers if he knew them personally, not just copying their God-given beauty from a photograph. Frequently, he could not choose between a blonde, a brunette and a redhead, so he would do covers with all three girls in one image, letting the reader decide which was the most beautiful.
At the beginning of World War II, LaGatta moved to California and started a new career teaching at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, and easel painting for his own pleasure. He died in 1977 in Santa Monica, California.

Art by John LaGatta (1894 - 1977)