“The Chemist”

“The Chemist” (ca. 1950)
by Robert Patterson (1898-1981)
13 x 18 in, acrylic on board
Coppola Collection

Patterson was a prolific illustrator in both advertising and fashion. His work appeared broadly, and included magazines such as Vogue, McCall’s, Judge, Snappy Stories, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, Woman’s Home Companion, American, Cosmopolitan, and American Weekly.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to track down anything at all about this piece, which is obviously near and dear to my heart as a chemist. It has that look of a pulp novel cover, and the person from whom I bought it guessed it to be from ca. 1950 based on other Patterson stuff he had.

You could give an entire page of a lab exam to students just to have them track down the laboratory safety issues in this composition, and then spend half a thesis deconstructing the stereotypes depicted.

It’s a wonder anyone went into science.


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