Kley: Trials of the pedestrian

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Sketch by Heinrich Kley, circa 1910. (SkitzoidLloyd)

This sketch, called “The Train,” by Heinrich Kley was probably etched in about 1910 to judge by the auto, by the fashionable attire of the alligator, or by the era in which Kley was publishing his more curious work. The sketch was sent to me by a reader, SkitzoidLloyd, in reply to a post in which I related my travails in locating a copy of it. Thank you, Lloyd.

By the way, I had originally summoned up a set of Kley sketches related to transit issues as they were perceived in the early part of the last century. Rob Steuteville, editor of CNU’s Public Square blog, has begun a series featuring illustrations pertaining to transit and pedestrian issues. His recent “Got a Minute?” of Apple’s Cupertino campus superimposed on Manhattan suggests that Kley wasn’t quite what he had in mind for that series. But it is quite what I have in mind, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Check out the expression on the alligator’s face as she realizes that her “train” – the lagging indicator of ladies’ dresses back then – has been cut off by one of those newfangled locomotive devices. Did she get the license number? (“466”)

Kley spent his earlier career doing professional sketches of industrial buildings for clients, eventually started drawing cities – mainly of his native Germany – and then graduated to drawing social commentary of the most ascerbic kind. I am waiting for a couple of volumes of Kley’s work to arrive from Joseph V. Procopio’s online lost-art-0f books.

Here and here are posts with other illustrations or book trailers (!) by Kley.

Here is Rob’s latest “Got a Minute?” illustration, designed to highlight the absurdity of Apple’s claim that its campus is “green” in the sense of sustainability.

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Apple’s new alien spaceship lands in Manhattan. (Josh Arcurio)

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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