Search the Collections

Adolph Treidler
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Westcliffe, Colo.
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Flemington, N.J.
Illustrator, painter, printmaker and watercolorist Adolph Treidler is principally remembered for the many posters he created to support America’s war efforts during the two World Wars and to promote tourism to the island of Bermuda. Born in Westcliffe, Colorado in 1886, his father worked in mining in that state until the family relocated to San Francisco around 1898. Treidler attended the California School of Design from 1902 to 1904, where he studied life drawing under Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945) and won an honorable mention for his drawings at a student exhibition in 1903. After the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, Treidler went to Chicago, where he worked for the Chicago Tribune art department and attended classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Treidler soon moved to New York City, probably in 1908, and began studying drawing and painting under Robert Henri (1865-1929) the next year. His first magazine illustration appeared in McClure’s magazine in 1908, the year two books he illustrated were published. He went on to paint over 200 magazine covers, including works for Collier’s, Harper’s, Scribner’s, Saturday Evening Post, System Magazine and Woman’s Home Companion. By 1910 the advertising agency for Pierce Arrow automobiles had hired Treidler to create advertising art, a relationship that continued until the 1930s. His other advertising clients included Aer Lingus, A&P Supermarkets, The French (steamship) Line, Furness Cruises, New York Central (railroad) Lines, Pan-American World Airways and Wells Fargo Bank. In 1913 Treidler won the $500 first prize in the contest to create an advertising poster for the then-new San Francisco residential subdivision, St. Francis Wood. In 1915 he won the $1,000 first prize in a poster contest celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Newark, N.J. In the autobiographical sketch accompanying his poster design, Treidler wrote, “I expect to get married about fifteen minutes after I get your check for $1,000.” He married Dean Fannie Daniel (ca. 1894-1982), a Missouri native then living in Brooklyn, during the following year. During World War I Treidler was a member of the executive committee of the Division of Pictorial Publicity, the organization created by Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) to organize the artists supporting the war effort, and created at least 16 posters. One of his best known designs, “For Every Fighter a Woman Worker,” featured a woman munitions worker holding an airplane in one hand and an artillery shell in the other; his wife Dean was the model. He won a $1,000 prize for his 1918 poster promoting the purchase of war savings stamps. With the admonition, “Help Stop This; Buy W.S.S. & Keep Him Out of America,” the poster depicted a German soldier trampling on a woman. Treidler was later criticized for appropriating the figure of the soldier from a sketch by German artist Angelo Jank (1868-1940) that had appeared in the German publication Jugend. Treidler’s successful illustration career continued after World War I, but he also created exhibited prints, drawings and water colors, and showed them (as well as his war posters) in exhibitions in New York City, Indianapolis and St. Louis. He showed prints in group shows at the New York Public Library in 1919 and 1921, prints in a 1922 group show at the American Academy of Arts and Letters (along with art by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Childe Hassam (1859-1935) and George Bellows (1882-1925), among others), and prints in at the Whitney Studio Club (now the Whitney Museum of American Art) in 1923. He participated in exhibitions at New York’s Art Center organized by The Stowaways, an artists’ club. He won an honorable mention for his poster submitted to the 1928 international contest to select posters advertising the forthcoming 1933 Chicago World’s Fair; an exhibit of some 60 of the posters later toured Indianapolis, Baltimore, Ithaca, Brooklyn and Harrisburg, Pa. Treidler exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. His association with the Bermuda Board of Trade began in 1933, leading to numerous posters, magazine advertisements, and murals in the Board’s offices in New York (1946), Toronto (1954) and London (1955). He was elected president of the Artists’ Guild in 1936, of which he was a charter member. Treidler was chairman of the Pictorial Publicity Committee of the Society of Illustrators during World War II. His poster designs included at least five posters featuring Women Ordnance Workers, noted for their red and white kerchiefs with the Ordnance symbol of an exploding cannon ball. His commercial illustration continued post-war, with his last posters for Bermuda tourism completed in 1958. Sometime in the 1940s Treidler and his wife established a summer home in Flemington, N.J., some 40 miles west of Newark, and he moved his studio there in 1958. He exhibited his watercolors depicting the landscapes of New Jersey, Bermuda and Europe as recently as 1970. Treidler died in Flemington in 1981; wife Dean passed away the following year. (TNB 9/2018) Selected bibliography: Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, 3 vols., vol. 3, p. 3331. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1999. Flon, Brian. “Adolph Treidler (1886-1981) Biography,” The Lusher Gallery, Schiller, Joyce K. “She’s a WOW,” Essays in Illustration, Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Norman Rockwell Museum, June 30, 2011.