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Abril Lamarque papers, 1883-2001, bulk 1904-1999

Biographical Note

Eduardo Abril Lamarque (1904-1999) was a Cuban born cartoonist, caricaturist, graphic designer, illustrator, and art director who worked primarily in New York City.
Eduardo Abril Lamarque was born in Cuba on August 28, 1904. His parents sent him to the United States in 1916 when he was twelve to study English and business administration. He lived with an American family in Brooklyn. At age 15, Lamarque's first cartoon was published in the Boy Scout section of the New York World-Telegram and Evening Mail. Four years later he created Bla-Bla, a comic strip that appeared regularly in the New York Daily News. He is credited with creating, in the early 1920s, the first Spanish language comic strip that was not translated from English. The title cartoon character, Monguito, was a hapless soul, fully dressed in business suit and hat, who kept getting into sticky situations. Lamarque produced hundreds of these strips which were picked up by the New York based United Feature Syndicate and published daily in Spanish language newspapers throughout Latin America and the United States.
When he was twenty, Lamarque returned to Cuba to work as the artistic director for the Havana newspaper Lunes de Diario de Cuba. He also published a booklet designed to teach the elements of caricature drawing. Lamarque returned to New York and was hired by the New York World Telegram and Evening Mail as a caricaturist. He produced political cartoons and caricatures for the paper, introducing his "radiocatures", which involved providing instructions on the radio for filling in a grid in the newspaper to produce a caricature of well-known figure in the news.
In 1927, at the age of 23, he became the first art director of Dell Publishing Company - a magazine empire that included Film Fun, I Confess, War Stories, Modern Screen, Popular Song, Spotlight, Radio Stars, Theatrical Page, Ballyhoo, and Modern Romances. He continued working there for 14 years.
In 1940-1941, Lamarque established Abril Lamarque Creations, a design firm that specialized in elegant and functional household objects and jewelry in a modernist tradition. His signature piece was the Pallettray, a serving tray modeled after an artist's palette and hand-finished in exotic woods.
Between 1941 and 1946, Lamarque became the first art director for the Sunday edition of the New York Times and redesigned the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times Book Review. Throughout his career, Lamarque designed and redesigned countless magazines and journals, including American Weekly, New York News, Metropolitan Life, Popular Science, This Week, US News-World Report, and others.
In 1948, Lamarque established a successful graphic design studio in New York that provided a full spectrum of design services, including annual reports, posters, product labeling, corporate publications, advertising, logos, package designs, and brochures. His clients included Barcardi Company, Con Edison, Ericcson Telephone, General Cable, Berlitz School, Lipton, Monsanto, and numerous magazines. In 1958, he was given the National Award for Graphic Design in packaging. His design for the annual American Red Cross poster was selected for the 1948 national Red Cross campaign.
His success and high demand as a publication art director, consultant, and designer was attributed to innovative design principles he based on the German Bauhaus School and its philosophy that promoted functional design principles. Lamarque reduced these principles to a set of guidelines suitable for page design and applied them successfully to a wide variety of publication and print layouts.
Lamarque's teaching experience began in the early 1940s with seminars and workshops he conducted for the publishing industry. He joined the faculty of New York University School of Continuing Education in 1958, where he taught until 1963, and later joined the Crowell Collier Institute and taught publication design workshops across the United States and Canada. He also gave workshops and courses at Oklahoma State School of Journalism.
Lamarque was a long-time member of the Society of Illustrators, Society of Art Directors, the Dutch Treat Club, National Press Club, and New York University Club. He was also an amateur magician and member of the Society of American Magicians. He performed magic acts for the annual Christmas party of the Society of Illustrators. Abril Lamarque died in 1999 at the age of 94.