The sketch above, “Gasoline Stallion,” which these days might be renamed “Road Rage,” is one of my favorites by Heinrich Kley (1863-1945), the German illustrator. It was probably drawn early in the 20th century, when automobiles were beginning to overtake horses as primary transportation. In Kley’s illustration, a car that has some of the features of a horse lashes out at another car. Today we have too many cars, and the result is road rage. We rarely see such excellent free-hand drawings these day.
You can type “Heinrich Kley” into Google and see more of his work, which is often far too dark to warrant publication in a happy blog like this. For example, there is a man raping a church (anyway, that’s my interpretation). Even I don’t dare run that here! But I offer some tamer drawings by Kley.
Kley’s brief write-up on Wikipedia notes: “Cartoonist Joe Grant was well aware of Kley’s work and introduced his drawings to Walt Disney, who built an extensive private collection. A number of early Disney productions, notably Fantasia, reveal Kley’s inspiration. Due to Disney’s interest and reprints by Dover Publications, Kley is still known in the USA, while he is nowadays little regarded in Germany.”
According to thescreamonline.com, Kley also did “architectural paintings of building exteriors in Old Munich, Nuremberg, Bruchsal, Dresden, the harbor, Paris, Ostende, and the island of Helgoland in the North Sea,” though very few of these works appear in Google’s selection.
Thanks to Rob Steuteville, who sent out a call for cartoons and other illustrations for a new feature for The Public Square, which he edits for the Congress for the New Urbanism. Under the headline “Got a minute?” he wrote: “Every Friday on Public Square we will publish something brief and thought-provoking, like a cartoon, drawing, photograph, or slide, with a brief explanation. We are happy to get submissions for these.” I thank Rob for inspiring me to revisit Kley’s work. Maybe some of it will appear in The Public Square. Meanwhile, here are some that probably won’t: