Ben Shahn, Supermarket, 1957
A serigraph or silk screen print
Not all modernists laid down line for its own sake. Many have used it to portray the world in spare fashion.
Record album cover by David Stone Martin
Gregory Hines by Jules Feiffer
Helen Frankenthaler, Seascape with Dunes, 1962
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
When I was in art school in the abstract expressionist 1960s, artists
who used line for imagery were dismissed as illustrators. Frankenthaler's
abstract lines in oil had more perceived value than Feiffer's "cartoons."
The difference between art and illustration has grown fuzzier over time, which is a good thing. I haven't heard anyone use "commercial artist" as an insult in decades.
In praise of illustrators:
Cotton prints from the same time that line artists at the top of this page were working.
It's not pure line
but it's pure fun.
A classic: Dandelion by Lucienne Day, early '50s