One of the upside down faces of Tex Whistler

I’ve found, by chance, in a website that collects the strangest things, pictures and facts you can find on web, a wide selection of the famous upside down faces of Rex Whistler (you can see them at WackyArchives ).

Rex Whistler was an eclectic British artist and illustrator that lived in the inter-war era, from 1905 to 1944.

Too much underrated nowadays where he is mainly known for those curious and funny upside down faces (they were commissioned by the Shell Petroleum company), he was a lot more than that and, in his period, he was very famous.

At that time, while Modernism tide ruled in all Europe (Bauhaus reminds you nothing?) his art was something completely on his own, nostalgic, country, sometimes rather kitsch.

He was only a 22 years old student at the Slade School of Art when he painted the HUGE mural called “The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats” of the Tate Gallery Restaurant, which was immediately defined ‘The Most Amusing Room in Europe.’ Within a year the Tate mural was under two feet of water after the notorious Thames flood of 1928, however Whistler had used a special combination of colors, with wax and turpentine, that ensured the survival of the mural.

He also painted portraits (he depicted many members of London society), landscapes, humorous sketches for advertising, theater designs, but, probably, he has always been best known for his fine books illustrations .

At the outbreak of WWII he took a commission in the Welsh Guard Armoured Division as Lieutenant, but continued to work as a professional illustrator in his spare time.

Shortly after embarking for Normandy in July 1944, he was killed by a mortar shell on his first day in action. He was 39.

Following, you can see a selection of his works, you can see those clickable at larger resolution. Enjoy!

A view of the Tate Gallery restaurant with Rex Whistler mural

1. A view of the Tate Gallery restaurant

HRH, the Prince of Wales, Awakening the Spirit of Brighton

2. HRH, the Prince of Wales, Awakening the Spirit of Brighton

Plas Newydd mural

3. Plas Newydd mural

Rex Whistler upside down faces in a book illustration

4. Upside down faces in a book illustration

A Rex Whistler fine book illustration

5. A book illustration

A Rex Whistler fine book illustration

6. Another beautiful book illustration

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Comments ( 1 Comment )

I was interested in the upside down people because I have three small dishes with them on that I bought in the late fifties

margaret foy added these pithy words on Sep 19 11 at 3:26 pm

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