Bullfighter by Rico Tomaso, Mid-Century, DAC Collection



This painting measures 30″ x 38″.   With so many paintings by Rico Tomaso in our collection, it is clear that he could paint beautifully in any style. We have always felt that he painted himself into his paintings.

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Living from 1898-1985, Rico Tomaso was a highly regarded illustrator and painter. He was known for his illustration of mystery novels and exotic adventure stories and also for his teaching abilities.  Many of his illustrations were for The Saturday Evening Post, including the Albert Richard Wetjen stories about the Mounted Police of South Australia.  Another client was the Granger Pipe Tobacco company, for whom he did full portrait illustrations. Tomaso was one of the most prolific artists reproduced  by the Donald Art Company. He painting such a variety of subjects that often the only proof of artist is a simple “RT” on verso.

As a young man, he played piano with a small dance orchestra, and future illustrator, Dean Cornwell, was the drummer.  It has been written that Tomaso’s “work mostly resembled Cornwell’s in concept and broad brush style.”

Tomaso’s family friend, John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, encouraged his talent.  He also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with J. Wellington Reynolds and later at the Art Students League in New York with teachers including Cornwell, Robert Henri and Harvey Dunn.

Tomaso taught at the Grand Central Art School, taking the classes of Harvey Dunn when the School class was moved to Mamaroneck, New York. The first corporate office of the Donald Art Company was also in Mamaroneck, NY and in the 1950’s his work began to be reproduced by this company.

Source: Walt Reed, “Rico Tomaso”, The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000, p. 253  (added to by Vivien Cord)