None of the GM Authority staff is old enough to remember legendary automotive artist Art Fitzpatrick’s work, but that doesnt mean we won’t spend a few sentences to honor his contribution to the industry.
In fact, Fitzpatrick had extremely close ties to General Motors, and any Pontiac fan should spend a moment paging through his work, as he was responsible for creating some of the most iconic Pontiac advertisements post World War II from 1959 through 1971.
Automotive News has taken the time to provide a brief snapshot of how Fitzpatrick worked, along with his late colleague Van Kaufman. Fitzpatrick would draw the vehicle for the advertisement, often making the car look lower and wider than it really was, and Kaufman would then sketch in the scenery and people.
The ads portrayed an upscale look, especially featuring exotic locations and playing on Pontiac’s “wide track” performance motif. Pontiac’s General Manager at the time, John DeLorean, denounced the use of photographs during Fitzpatrick and Kaufman’s tenure, proclaiming their drawings were to be the only form for Pontiac adversitments.
The duo created 285 Pontiac ads in total, and helped propel the General’s performance division to number three in industry sales.
In Fitzpatrick’s later years, he drew two series of commemorative U.S. stamps titled “America On The Move” through 2005 to 2008. The first set featured classic American sports cars, while the second celebrated elongated lines and the tail fins from luxury vehicles of yesteryear.
Fitzpatrick passed away in Carlsbad, California at the age of 96. We’ll leave you with one of his most compelling quotes from a Motor Trend interview in 2007.
“I’ve always maintained that a picture of a car moving doesn’t mean a thing. They all move. You have to convey something about the car psychologically. It’s all about image. That’s the reason people buy cars.”