The “Art” of Football

The search for programs from past football games against our 2016 opponents led us to some of the most colorful and creative sports artwork in our collections.  Renowned 20th-century artists, such as Jack Fagan, Joe Little, and Phil Neel, showcased their unique, humorous talents on the covers of game-day programs. The University of Maryland Archives are fortunate to possess numerous examples of their work. Enjoy their eye appeal, brilliant use of color, and creative, quirky characters.

1961-clemson Cartoon artist Phil Neel (1928-2012) was famous for creating the most recognizable and lovable mascot in college sports, Aubie the Auburn tiger.  Although Aubie was Neel’s most famous creation, he also drew covers for other schools, including Clemson, whose programs featured Neel’s characters from 1959 to 1976. Neel’s drawings became collectors’ items, as seen when Aubie serves up some turtle soup.

1935-indiana Jake Fagan (1910-1993) created this colorful cover for one of our Big Ten opponents this season; the Terps take on Indiana on October 29 in Bloomington. Fagan was best known for his landscape painting and commercial art and served for a time as the art director of the Wells Fargo Bank.

 

 

Joe Little’s football hero evokes gentlemanly courtesy prior to kickoff against Southern Methodist University  and captures the determination of one football hero, with the clock winding down against N.C. State. Little illustrated pulp fiction, magazine stories, and sports programs from the 1940s to the 1960s, specializing in football covers during the 1950s.

Turtle soup is a popular theme, as featured on the October 7, 1950, Maryland vs. Michigan State program drawn by Cahoon. The Terps take on the Spartans this season on October 22.

Another of our historic programs from a contest against a Big Ten opponent is this Dad’s Day beauty drawn by artist Lon Keller. The Terps travel to Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions on October 8.1958-south-carolinaOur final, colorful favorite is this gem from the November 1, 1958, Homecoming game vs. South Carolina. Willard Mullin, who described himself as a cartoonist, not an artist, and was known as a keen observer of the human form in action, drew this cover for that special day.

The artists entertained the fans while showcasing athletes, coaches and campuses.  As you can see, the options were endless and entertaining! Art. Football. When they team up on game day, it’s a winning combination!

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