THE PONTIAC ART

OF FITZ AND VAN

Story by Bob Wicker

 

Pontiac's advertising campaigns in the 1960's undoubtedly had a lot to do with their success in the marketplace, and their rise to the number 3 position in sales behind Chevrolet and Ford. Pontiac would hold that position from 1962 until 1970. From 1959 to 1971, those advertising  campaigns would be driven by the artwork of Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman.

Art Fitzpatrick began his career as an automotive designer. He helped design the 1940 Packard 4 door, among others. He would go on to do quite a bit of advertising art for Mercury in the 1950's as well as for Plymouth and Buick.

Van Kaufman started his art career as a Disney illustrator. He subsequently spent time in Europe, and developed a European style in his illustration.

Beginning in 1959, Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, Fitz and Van as they would come to be known, landed an exclusive contract to produce advertising art for Pontiac. That contract would last until 1971.

Their advertising art was so good and so popular that in 1965, then Pontiac General Manager John Delorean, would insist for a time that all Pontiac advertising art work be done by Fitz and Van, and that photographs not be used.

During their tenure providing Pontiac with advertising images, Art Fitzpatrick drew the cars and Van Kaufman drew the scenery and people.

Their art appeared in Pontiac brochures and magazine ads. Those ads frequently appeared in such upscale publications as National Geographic and Life Magazine.

Art Fitzpatrick's style was to illustrate Pontiacs to look even lower and wider than they already were. But his talent allowed him to do so without the cars ever looking cartoon like.

Van Kaufman passed away in 1995. Art Fitzpatrick continues to share world class automotive art with us, despite the fact that he is slightly North of 90 years old. He attends car shows and seminars, where he displays and sells his automotive masterpieces, past and present. He recently collaborated with Jim Wangers on a book called Pontiac Pizazz.

Some of Mr. Fitzpatrick's work is available online via his website:

http://www.fitz-art.com

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Fitzpatrick at the Pontiac Oakland Club International Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2007. Despite his great accomplishments, he proved to be a humble and personable man. I purchased some prints of his art. Interestingly, Mr. Fitzpatrick has produced works depicting 3 of the Pontiacs that I own, in the same colors that my Pontiacs wear. Needless to say, those prints are very special to me. 

During their tenure producing Pontiac art, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Kaufman created 285 masterpieces depicting Pontiacs and the lifestyle that Pontiac's marketers wanted to portray. Most of those works are displayed in this article. Please respect Mr. Fitzpatrick's copyright to these works. They are provided here in smaller than original size for historical purposes only.

We hope you enjoy the Pontiac art of Fitz and Van.

 

 

1959 BONNEVILLES

1959 CATALINAS

1960 BONNEVILLES

1960 BONNEVILLE SAFARI

1960 CATALINAS

1961 BONNEVILLES

1961 CATALINA

1961 TEMPESTS

1962 BONNEVILLES

1962 BONNEVILLE SAFARIS

1962 GRAND PRIX'

1962 CATALINAS

1962 CATALINA SAFARIS

1963 BONNEVILLES

1963 BONNEVILLE SAFARI

1963 GRAND PRIX'

1963 CATALINAS

1963 CATALINA SAFARIS

1964 BONNEVILLES

1964 BONNEVILLE SAFARIS

1964 GRAND PRIX'

1964 CATALINA

1964 CATALINA SAFARI

1965 BONNEVILLES

1965 BONNEVILLE SAFARI

1965 2+2

1965 GRAND PRIX'

1965 CATALINA

1965 CATALINA SAFARIS

1965 LEMANS

1966 BONNEVILLES

1966 BONNEVILLE SAFARIS

1966 2+2

1966 GRAND PRIX'

1966 EXECUTIVE

1966 CATALINAS

1966 GTO's

1966 TEMPEST

1967 BONNEVILLES

1967 BONNEVILLE SAFARI

1967 GRAND PRIX'

1967 EXECUTIVE SAFARI

1967 CATALINAS

1967 GTO

1968 BONNEVILLE

1968 GRAND PRIX'

1968 EXECUTIVE SAFARIS

1968 VENTURA

1968 CATALINAS

1968 CATALINA SAFARI

1968 GTO's

1968 LEMANS'

1968 TEMPEST

1968 FIREBIRD

1969 BONNEVILLE

1969 GRAND PRIX'

1969 EXECUTIVE SAFARI

1969 CATALINA

1969 GTO's

1969 LEMANS'

1969 FIREBIRDS

1970 BONNEVILLES

1970 EXECUTIVE SAFARI

1970 GRAND PRIX'

1970 GTO JUDGE

1970 GTO

1970 LEMANS

1970 TEMPESTS

1970 FIREBIRD FORMULA 400

1970 FIREBIRD ESPRIT

1970 FIREBIRDS

1971 GRAND VILLES

1971 GRAND SAFARIS

1971 BONNEVILLE

1971 CATALINA

1971 SAFARI

1971 GRAND PRIX

1971 GTO

1971 LEMANS

1971 LEMANS SAFARI

1971 T-37

1971 TRANS AM

1971 FIREBIRD FORMULA

1971 FIREBIRD ESPRIT

 

VAN KAUFMAN (LEFT), JOHN DELOREAN (CENTER), ART FITPATRICK (RIGHT) 1968

ART FITZPATRICK

 

 

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