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The Art of Robert Meyers – from Wild West to Romance

Published: February 25, 2016

In the 1950s and ’60s, the name Robert Meyers was a familiar one to readers of The Saturday Evening Post. In just 10 years, Meyers published 94 pieces of artwork in the magazine. He illustrated mostly romance and mystery, but his expertise actually fell into a completely different genre.

Growing up in a strict family of accountants, Meyers became fascinated with Western America while watching cowboy films, immersing himself in a completely different culture than the one he was familiar with in New York City. His family was surprised when, instead of carrying on the family occupation, he asked to go to art school. After attending multiple art and fashion universities, he began to illustrate children’s books and Western paperbacks.

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© SEPS

His career at the Post began in 1952, when his employer, Charles E. Cooper Studios, introduced him to the job. He went on to illustrate stories like “The Girl Next Door” by Steve McNeil, with a scene in which a bathing suit-clad girl surprises a lucky man with a kiss. Meyers uses a unique color story of ocean blues and electric yellows, and dramatic waves crashing into the couple to tell the romantic story. Many of Meyers’ illustrations from the Post involve couples in embraces or men fawning over female characters.

Meyers’ love for the Wild West also appeared in the Post alongside stories like “The Boy Left Home” by John Randolph Phillips. In the scene, a young man in business attire talks with an older farmer. With a suitcase at the young man’s feet, he prepares to ask the farmer if he can stay, having run away. Meyers uses intricate detail to paint the farm scene, down to the old-fashioned wagon and cows grazing in the background. Meyers was, perhaps, referring to his own childhood, and this illustration reflected the struggles of going against his own family’s wish for him to become an accountant.

In the 1960s, the Post decided to slowly decrease the number of illustrations in the magazine, making Meyers look for other opportunities to make a living. He decided to live out his love for Western culture and moved his family to Wyoming. There he operated a dude ranch and was an active cattle rancher. His artwork during this time focused on painting his family hard at work at the ranch and on his personal life in the West. In 1970, he was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America.

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