Norman Brosterman: A Collector

Norman Brosterman

Norman Brosterman is a serial collector. He moves from one forgotten subculture to another, salvaging everything he can from flea markets and trashcans. By any means necessary, even if he needs to hire a private investigator, Brosterman will find what he’s looking for. This includes locating the ancestors of an obscure 20th Century pulp science fiction illustrator.

Of course, we’re not flying around in cars — yet. But, this didn’t stop Brosterman from gathering his rare treasure of sketches, depicting zany, idealistic George Jetson-like futures.

The four magazine covers above are from the 1920s and 1930s. Usually, these magazines would appear in places like men’s barbershops. However, Brosterman believes that these covers, along with the rest of his collection, are underappreciated. In his opinion, these kitschy illustrations could be considered fine art.

“Without illustration art there would be no painting at all before the Renaissance,” he said in Graphis Magazine, Issue 338. “Early Western paintings, including the illuminations in medieval manuscripts and frescoes in churches, were commissioned for edification and instruction, usually to illustrate segments in those perennial bestsellers, the Old and New Testaments…[Nowadays,] 99 percent of all architectural drawings, illustration art, theater design, industrial design, and advertising art is thrown in the trash.”

And Norman Brosterman is there to collect it — whether it’s building blocks, metal construction toys, or erector sets. Whatever the object may be, he amasses the treasure, writes a book, and then sells off his latest fixation for lucrative sums before shifting his collective attention elsewhere. It has become his occupation.

To read and see more from Brosterman’s collection, click here.

Norman Brosterman

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