Will Carqueville likely learned the skills of a lithographer at his father's firm of Shober & Carqueville, and it is likely that it was through his father, Edward's business connections, that he was hired at Lippincott's Publishers. His first poster for Lippincott's Magazine was executed in December 1894. He decided he needed additional training in art techniques, so he sailed for France in the last months of 1895. He was replaced at Lippincott's by J.J. Gould. Studying in Paris, Carqueville was influenced by the French Art Nouveau style, and later the Aesthetics movement in England which introduced art into every aspect of daily life. Seeing the impressive array of poster art in fin de siècle Paris, he realized that he could make a fair living as a commercial illustrator, while also pursuing fine art painting.
William Carqueville returned about a year later, after the poster craze had already peaked in America. He made several posters for International, a Chicago magazine, and a poster advertising a cash register was included in a poster exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna in 1897.
Of the many artists active in illustration in America during the 1890s, only a few show the influence of Art Nouveau in their work. Carqueville’s posters, like those of his English contemporaries, are less florid and decorative than French illustration. "His work is characterized by simple, graceful compositions with elegant outlines and simple, flat areas of color. While maintaining a decorative surface, his work is typical of the fresh realism of American art. The asymmetrically-balanced compositions and large areas of color are the influence of Japanese art (“Japonisme”) that was current at the time."
Carqueville established a good reputation within a short time. He produced magazine covers for International, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Lippincot’s and Scribner’s magazines. He produced posters that advertised those publications, and also pursued painting, primarily realistic figurative work. Along with William Bradley and Edward Penfield, he is considered one of the finest of American illustrators during its flowering between the 1890s and 1920s."^
^ Karl Cole: http://curatorscorner.blogspot.com/2009/04/american-poster-design.html
The Art Bulletin, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 459-461
Published by: College Art Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3049420