Joe Putman

Art School Years

Advertising Art and Illustration Courses Brochure, 1949


Click here to view larger.

In May 1949, near the end of the school year, Joe participated in a Student Exhibition for the Bisttram School of Fine Arts. The student exhibition ran May 6, 7, and 8, May 13, 14, and 15. Unfortunately, Joe's painting was stolen from the exhibit and could not be returned to him when the exhibit was over. It had been a painting which was created as part of a public service advertising campaign depicting two hands extended towards each other as if prepared to shake hands, one black and one white.

Three categories of artwork were shown at the student exhibition: 1) Fine Art including drawings and paintings completed during the third year of the Four Year Fine Arts program; 2) Two Year Basic which were drawings and paintings completed during the Two Year Basic program; and 3) Advertising and Illustration dealing with assignments completed in the Advertising Art and Illustration course during the first year of the two-year program. It is thought that Joe's painting was entered in the latter of these three categories.

Early in 1949, as Joe continued studies at the Bisttram School, the Korean conflict abroad became the focus of the United States military efforts. Without warning, Joe was called back into the Army. This was something that could be done by the United States government at that time with conscription. In 1950 Joe was assigned to Camp Stoneman in Pittsburg, California, where he helped expedite the processing of thousands of U.S. Army troops embarking for Korea and, ultimately, war. After several months at Camp Stoneman, he was twice sent to Korea for extended tours of duty which lasted up to a 16 months.

After returning to the Army, Joe was not to resume his studies at Bisttram School or his artwork for that matter, but there was an ever present artistic sensibility in whatever he attempted. Years later, when asked why he did not return to his artwork, he said it was because he had a family to support. He did that by making the United States Army his career. In the years that followed, and after retiring from the Army, Joe also worked for Wells Fargo Bank, Parsons Corporation, Kennedy Contractors, and Bechtel Corporation.

Joe had done exquisite large charcoal and Conte crayon drawings in the figure drawing classes he had taken, and was exceptionally skilled at depicting the human figure. These drawings included many nude poses and it was not known whether he completed the figure drawings during classes at the School or during private lessons with Bisttram where a model would have been present for the studies by a small group of invited student.

In the 1970s, Joe burned a large part of his work. It is not known why he did this, but his wife said she found him clearing out an old trunk in which he kept drawings and other work from his days as an artist, and burning them in the backyard trash barrel. They were preparing to move to Globe, Arizona, where he had taken a job with Parsons Corporation buying and selling heavy equipment for the work Parsons was completing at a copper mine in Globe. They needed to move many of their household items, pots and pans, plates, and anything else they would need to set up housekeeping in Arizona. The trunk containing his artwork would hold household necessities for the move.

Shown below are nine examples of artwork by Joe Putman completed during his attendance at Woodbury College and Bisttram School of Fine Art, some of the few pieces remaining. They are a block and cylinder drawing; a block and pyramid drawing; a color study of random geometric shapes; an oil painting of a monkey sitting on an elephant's head; a poster board tempera Christmas greeting sign thought to be for a store window display; five items from an advertising campaign for a line of paints ncluding what is though to be a proposal for a billboard advertising; a watercolor of a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, California, built by Joe and his brother-in-law; a drawing for a portrait and the unfinished oil underpainting from the drawing dated 1949; a watercolor on poster board of the lobby of Woodbury College dated 1947; a lettering mock up of the paint logo, Treasure Tones, in tempera on poster board; a label from the advertising campaign portfolio, ,

Joe Putman's artwork on this page is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Blocks and Cylinder
Pyramid and block
Color Study
Monkey Seated on Elephant's Head
Christmas Greeting Display
Billboard Advertising
Treasure Tone House Ad Mockup
Ad Campaign Mock Ups, Treasure Tones paint
Ad Campaign Mock Ups, Treasure Tones paint
Ad Campaign Mock Ups, Treasure Tones paint
Portrait Drawing
Underpainting of Portrait
Lettered Company Name, Treasure Tones
Advertising Portfolio Label

Joe Putman's artwork on this page is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

(c)2018 Carol Putman. All rights reserved.