Frank B. Nuderscher (1880-1959)|Man and press|Cover illustration for The Inland Printer (September 1903)
Throughout his life Frank B. Nuderscher primarily lived and worked in St. Louis and was best known regionally as a painter of landscapes and city views of his area. It is unexpected then, to find that in 1903 he also created the above cover illustration for the popular Chicago trade magazine, The Inland Printer.
In the 19th century American explosion of printed materials, trade magazines were formed focused on information for a specific industry, trade, or profession. The Inland Printer was created in October 1883 as a local trade magazine for the booming mid-western printing industry. That first issue was “twenty-four pages, thirteen of copy and eleven of advertisements.”* Eventually this little monthly periodical became the bible of the printing industry and is still viewed as a primary source of historical information on that trade with some issues running for as many as 200 pages. In 1894, The Inland Printer became the first American magazine to have a new cover designed for every issue. Some of the most influential of illustrators of the day created distinctive covers for the magazine, including Will Bradley and the brothers J. C. and Frank X. Leyendecker.
Nuderscher’s cover design for the September 1903 issue of The Inland Printer shows a young man pulling a hand press. This image is based in a bit of nostalgia, since by then technological advances in the printing industry were rampant, and it is also classically derived. In 1903, Nuderscher was probably just finishing his artistic studies that began in St. Louis and then took him to England, Germany, and France. The standard artistic training for all artists included making copies of older works of art from reproductions; copies from plaster casts; and finally, studying the figure from nude models.