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Harold Gaze (1884-1963) was amongst the most unique Australasian illustrators, yet his accomplishments have still to be completely acknowledged, and his life to be precisely graphed. Born in New Zealand, he traveled to London where he studied at various art schools. In the early years of the First World War, he drafted his first illustrations for the book If I Could Fly by Rose Strong Hubbell (1917). Toward the end of the war, he went to Australia, and settled in Melbourne, bringing with him a portfolio that awed critics and publishers alike. His first Australian title, The Wicked Winkapong, was distributed, with his own content in time for Christmas 1918 and cemented his vocation. In the following three years, Gaze composed and outlined eight further books for youngsters, and exhibited a portion of his work at the Victorian Artists’ Society. His quirky draftsmanship and stunning utilization of watercolor made him stand out as one of the few male artists in a field dominated by female illustrators. In the 1920s, he returned to London where he illustrated another six books. In 1927, he moved to the United States, settling in Pasadena, and living there until his death. In the 1930s, he got to be known as ‘The Bubble Man’, on the quality of a few effective solo shows which he held in Los Angeles. His later work, containing naked female figures, was devoted to adults, not children.

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Harold enchanted his audience with more than twelve unique stories including Coppertop, The Goblin’s Glen, and The Merry Mite.

Harold Gaze’s books are very scarce and fetch very high prices. His original watercolors sell very well at auction, but remain affordable due partly to Harlod’s as-of-yet undiscovered status as a fine artist.

View more of Harold Gaze’s work in the Ebon et Noir magazine!

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