The Louwman Museum has an extensive art collection, including a large number of illustrations by Frederick Gordon Crosby (1885-1943), the famous illustrator for the British car magazine The Autocar. Initially car magazine editors preferred illustrations to photographs. In his drawings and paintings Gordon-Crosby would exaggerate situations somewhat in order to stir the readers’ imagination.
He was a greatly talented artist and in started working for The Autocar in 1908. This was in the days before the breakthrough of action photography, and Gordon Crosby was able -as no other could- to represent on paper the atmosphere and glamour surrounding motor cars and motor racing. It is as if you are standing next to the artist as he sketches the action, although some of the excitement is thanks to a certain degree of ‘artistic licence’.
A good example is Gordon Crosby’s impression of the French Grand Prix of 1906. The painting shows the red Renault of later winner Ferenc Szisz, doing battle with the De Dietrich of Duray. It’s as though the gravel is about to hit the viewer. In reality though the winner finished 32 minutes ahead of rest.
Other works by Gordon Crosby include images of car factories where working conditions were far from ideal. He had a humorous side too: on display in the Louwman Museum is a group of caricatures of famous British racing drivers from the 1920s, many of whom had been successful at Brooklands circuit.
In 1943 the family were dealt a heavy blow when their youngest son died in an aerial battle. Unable to cope with this great loss, F. Gordon Crosby committed suicide later the same year. He was just 58.
Plan your visit to the automobile museum. The Louwman Museum is located just 15 minutes from The Hague Central Station.