Oscar Bryn Paints the Scenery

In addition to his Travel by Train poster, Oscar Bryn did a number of posters and paintings for the Santa Fe Railway. The most famous is his Arizona poster, which looks as if it could have been one of the Travel by Train posters modified for Santa Fe use, but actually dates to 1949, fifteen years after the Travel by Train campaign. Like Bryn’s other Travel by Train poster, this is richly colored but flat, giving a fair representation of the impression people have of the Grand Canyon even if it doesn’t look much like the real thing.

Click to view a 2.1-MB JPG of this poster at 2,500×3,475.

Bryn was born on Honolulu in 1883 but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where he studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute (Hopkins being one of the “Big Four” founders of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads). He worked in the San Francisco Chronicle‘s art department and did some illustration for the Southern Pacific’s Sunset Magazine.

Click to view a 750×996 JPG of this poster.

In 1913, he moved to Los Angeles to work for the Santa Fe. After two years he moved again to Chicago to be close to the company’s headquarters. While there, he had other clients including Marshall Fields.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a larger view of this poster.

After the war, the Santa Fe used Bryn’s paintings in some of its magazine advertisements. This evocative painting of a moonlight horseback ride appeared in 1948 ads in various magazines.

Click image to download a 1,487×1,881 JPG of this ad.

Bryn’s career with the Santa Fe lasted 37 years until he retired in 1950 and moved back to California, settling in Sebastopol, in Sonoma County. He died in 1967.

The four little paintings Bryn contributed to this 1949 ad must have been some of the last work he did for the Santa Fe. Click image to download a 1,000×1,294 JPG of this ad.

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