Vilmos Andreas (i.e. Willy Andrew) Pogány was a Hungarian born (1883) artist who immigrated to America in 1914 and his art career was expansive. He designed stage sets and costumes for the Metropolitan Opera, worked as a Hollywood art director in the 30s, designed hotel interiors, illustrated magazines covers, and became especially well known illustrating classic books from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to “Mother Goose.” In the last years of his life he worked as a portraitist and died in 1955.
Early in his career he illustrated a series of books by the Irish author Pádraic Colum. He was a playwright and poet who also came to America in 1914 and was a couple years older than Pogany. He later lived in France and was close friends with James Joyce, helping him with “Finnegan’s Wake.”
I don’t have information on just how Colum and Pogány got together, but it seems likely that they were close, since they had similar interests and background. The five Colum books illustrated by Pogány were of mythological subjects designed for a children’s library. The drawing style Pogány chose for many of these is black and white line art reminiscent of ancient Greek vase painting, but “The King of Ireland’s Son,” (as in the first insert above) has a more traditionally illustrated look. I have not yet found a copy of “The Frenzied Prince,” which I believe happens to be the last book he ever illustrated, published about 20 years after the other four. Colum’s writing style is quite entertaining, and his research on the myths themselves seems quite thorough and accurate.
Several of the Colum Pogany books are available for free on the net, some as PDF downloads with good quality scans of the art. You can find them at Google Books. I recommend them highly, for the writing and the art. There are also other books illustrated by Pogány there, such as “Faust.”
Pogány also wrote three art books called “Drawing Lessons” (a.k.a. The Art of Drawing,) “Oil Lessons,” and “Watercolor Lessons,” and while the information in the books doesn’t impress me as much as others on these subjects, the artwork is very nice.
Colum & Pogány books:
The King of Ireland’s Son
The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy
The Children of Odin: A Book of Northern Myths
The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles
The Frenzied Prince, Being Heroic Stories of Ancient Ireland
about Willy Pogány
about Pádraic Colum
List of illustrated books by Pogány
List of books written by Colum
Nice scans of Pogány art at Golden Comic Book Stories
Pogány art at Nocloo.com – search “pogany” to find more art there