These unique paintings were Charles Hubbell's entry in an aviation art
contest sponsored by the Cleveland Press newspaper to promote the first
National Air Race in Cleveland in 1929.
All entries were required to be painted on newsprint. This one of a kind
collection is some of Hubbell's earliest work. It is believed that he won
the contest, which launched him on his art career and eventual commission
with Thompson Products Co.
This set of 36 paintings of airplanes of The Golden Age of aviation are the
only known Hubbell casein paintings to exist. As may be seen on these pages.
Hubbell tried most popular mediums in his art, including oils, watercolors,
pencil and brush pen. It is interesting to lift up the outer mats on these
paintings and see the edge of the paintings surrounded by the newsprint they
are painted on.
It seems like Fate had meant these caseins to end up in our collection. Of
all the airplanes painted here, only one of them was painted twice. There is
another completed painting of the Birdwing Imperial on the back of #25 of
this set. Hubbell apparently was not satisfied with his original effort and
wanted to do a better version. By coincidence, my father and I were the
owners of the only Birdwing Imperial airplane in existence from the 1960s
until 1996. Most people have never even heard of this plane and often
confuse it with a Bird biplane.
Casein is a milk-based paint similar to an opaque watercolor. Noted for
their deep colors, these finishes originally provided rich, saturated tones
to bring the unique decorative patterns alive.