Howard L. Fogg
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Howard Lockhart Fogg (April 7, 1917 – October 1, 1996) was an American artist specializing in railroad artwork.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York. The family lived in Mountain Lake, New Jersey (Liberty Township) for a short time. It was at the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad station that Howard sketched his first railroad subject, at four years old. The family later moved to Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Fogg graduated from New Trier High School in 1934. In 1938, he graduated with honors from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in English literature. To pursue a career in cartooning, he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in the fall of 1938. Fogg graduated from the Academy in the spring of 1939. Shortly afterward, he worked as a passenger information clerk for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1941, Baldwin Locomotive Works hired him as an apprentice engineer.
Drafted into the Army in 1941, Howard was assigned to the 4th Armored Division at Watertown in upper New York State. But the Army Air Corps needed pilots, so Howard requested a transfer. He received basic flight training at Parks Air College in St. Louis, primary training at Vance Army Air Base in Enid, Oklahoma, and finished his schooling at Foster Field in Victoria, Texas.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in November 1942, Howard’s first flight assignment was at Westover Field in Springfield, Massachusetts. There, he flew P-47 Thunderbolts under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Avelin P. Tacon, Jr.
The Westover assignment allowed Howard to travel regularly to New York City, where in 1934 he met Margot Dethier, daughter of the Belgian classical violinist Edouard Dethier (Margot’s uncle is Gaston Dethier, a noted organist and pianist). On April 10, 1943, Howard and Margot were married at the Madison Avenue Church in New York City. On October 1, 1943, he traveled to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey to await his transfer overseas.
With the 359th Fighter Group based at USAAF Station 133 in East Wretham, northeast of London, Howard flew bomber escort combat missions first with P-47s, and then with the long range P-51 Mustang named "Moose Nose". As chronicled in "Fogg in the Cockpit", his wartime diary offers a unique and personal perspective into the life of a fighter pilot with the Army Air Forces during World War II.
Well respected for his leadership skills whether flying escort or strafing trains, Howard was also tasked with teaching young pilots how to fly, both in England and upon his return to the United States. During his combat tour his commanding officers also relied on him to accurately and swiftly plot numerous missions.
Although primarily concerned with his experiences as a pilot, it is inevitable that Howard's love of railroading and his enthusiasm for painting is also reflected in his wartime diary "Fogg in the Cockpit".
Howard completed his combat tour of 76 missions in September 1944 and he received an honorable discharge from the US Army in August 1945. He was awarded the Air Medal with three clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with one cluster.
Association with ALCO
In November 1945, Howard met with a family friend, famed public-opinion pollster Elmo Roper. When Howard described his career goal, the pollster laughed and said, “I’ve heard everything now!” But Roper stopped laughing long enough to contact Duncan Fraser, President of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), and Fraser made the decision that launched Howard’s artistic career. Hired in 1946 as ALCO’s new company artist, Howard began painting their locomotives in the livery of prospective customers.
At an ALCO gala at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Lucius Beebe, a journalist with the New York Herald-Tribune, sought out Howard. Beebe was considering leaving New York to pursue writing and publication of railroad books. A long-term relationship was born, with Beebe buying a number of paintings over the years. In 1947, Beebe’s book, Mixed Train Daily, was the first of many to use a Fogg painting on the cover.
With commissions from individuals, authors, publishers, railroads, and related industrial firms flourishing, in 1957 Howard ended his formal agreement with ALCO, although he continued to paint periodic commissions for them for a number of years.
Move to Colorado
In August 1955, Fogg, his wife, and three children moved to Boulder, Colorado. Fogg received many commissions from railroad companies (Union Pacific, MKT, Monon, PL&E), industrial firms (Union Tank Car Company, Miner Enterprises), and individuals. The waiting list for his paintings sometimes stretched two or three years. Howard mentioned to his son Richard how honored he was to have been selected to fly at President Roosevelt’s interment. In his typical modest fashion, Howard said, “you could tell which plane was mine, it was the one slightly out of formation.” But Howard rarely flew out of formation, either in his plane on that long-ago day in 1945, or throughout his life. He married the woman he loved. He and Margot raised three fine sons and sustained numerous lifelong friendships. And Howard succeeded beyond his wildest dreams in the artistic career he envisioned in 1938.
Magazines featured Howard and his work. Limited edition prints were issued. Jigsaw puzzles, porcelain plates and mugs, playing cards, calendars, and greeting cards featured his art. His illustrations graced the covers and contents of multiple railroad books. In later years, books were written about him and his artwork, including Fogg and Steam by Frank Clodfelter, Howard Fogg and the Diesel Image by John J. Scala, and The Railroad Artistry of Howard Fogg by Ronald C. Hill and Al Chione.
Howard had another artistic skill; he was a drummer worthy of being in the same league as Buddy Rich. His WWII wingman Paul E. Olson lived in Pittsburg and Howard would stay at his home when he was working on paintings for John W. Barriger III, President of the Pittsburg and Lake Erie Railroad. On weekends, "Ollie" and "Howie" would become the Morewood Maulers, Inc. and played in several nightspots in the Pittsburg area.
In 1996, Howard Fogg lost his battle with cancer at the age of 79. A few months later his ashes were scattered along the Union Pacific railroad tracks at Sherman Hill in Wyoming by his sons Richard, Peter, and Howard III. A high-speed freight train thundered through soon after.
During his career, Fogg produced an estimated 1,200 paintings. He illustrated approximately 100 books and 70 different Leanin' Tree cards. Fogg was considered by many to be "America's finest railroad artist."
- Flanary, Ron. "Howard Fogg: 1917-1996" Trains Magazine, December 1996.
- Rose, Ted. "Howard Fogg: (1917-1966)" Railfan and Railroad, January 1997.
- Schur, Zeke. "Top Train Artist on Right Track." The Denver Post, March 8, 1983.
- Howard Fogg's diary as a fighter pilot with the 359th Fighter Group. http://fogginthecockpit.blogspot.com/
- Howard Fogg Papers, Denver Public Library: http://eadsrv.denverlibrary.org/sdx/pl/doc-tdm.xsp?id=WH1612_d0e38&fmt=text&base=fa
- ALCO reproductions of Howard Fogg prints http://foggprints.com/
- Clodfelter, Frank, Fogg and Steam (A Regional Look At Steam In North America) Pruett Pub Co, May 1978 ISBN 978-0-87108-522-1
- Fogg, Richard & Janet, Fogg in the Cockpit: Howard Fogg-Master Railroad Artist, World War II Fighter Pilot. Casemate Publishers & Book Distributors, July 2011 ISBN 978-1-61200-004-6
- Hill, Ronald, The Railroad Artistry of Howard Fogg Cedco Publishing Company Sept 1999 ISBN 978-0-7683-2112-8
- Scala, John, Howard Fogg and the Diesel Image: A Color Compilation of Choice Diesel Locomotive Renditions from Americas Foremost Railroad Illustrator. Weekend Chief Pub Co May 1987 ISBN 978-0-9612814-1-0