Featured Artists


Anton Bruehl was born in 1900 in Australia. In 1926, Bruehl set up a photography studio on Lexington Avenue in New York City and immediately became successful. The studio was massive--almost as large as a Broadway theater stage. Bruehl’s best talent was his ability to capture people in very intimate moments. He was one of the most successful celebrity and fashion photographers in the world, winning numerous awards, and was the “go-to” for advertising agencies. In 1937 and 1938, he was selected for Matson’s national travel advertising campaign. Bruehl created a vibrant illusion of tropical outdoor life in a series of advertisements featuring beautiful women as tourists and Hawaiian models.



Edward Steichen was born in Luxemburg in 1879. When Steichen was only 3 years old, the family moved to the United States and settled in Hancock, Michigan. Steichen possessed a growing talent for drawing and painting. At the age of 16, he bought his first camera and was instantly captivated. In 1923, he opened a commercial studio specializing in portrait and advertising photography. By 1934, Steichen was the most commissioned and highest paid commercial photographer in the world. Matson hired him for a national travel ad campaign that would appear in magazines throughout the United States. Once onboard the Matson Lines S.S. Lurline with his models, art director, camera and lighting equipment, Steichen set out to shoot photos emphasizing themes of beauty, fun and romance on the South Seas.



Ruth Sigrid Grafstrom was born in 1905 in Rock Island, Illinois. Both of Ruth’s parents were artists; her father was a painter and her mother was a ceramicist. Grafstrom studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Colarossi Academy in Paris. In the early 1930s, she entered the field of fashion illustration and began working for Vogue magazine. She became well known for her distinctly bold, sophisticated linear style, which was modernist with a painterly approach. In 1933, she was commissioned by Matson Lines cruise ships that sailed to Hawaii and the South Pacific. She created fashion-oriented illustrations for advertisements and travel brochures. Her illustrations were based on real scenes of elegantly dressed women and men sun-bathing on the deck of Matson’s S.S. Lurline en route to Waikiki.



Eugene Francis Savage was born in 1883 in Covington, Indiana. He was an American painter known for his murals. While studying at the Chicago Art Institute, he won the Rome Prize in painting, enabling him to study at the American Academy in Rome, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1938, Savage was commissioned by Matson Navigation Company to paint six 8 feet x 4 feet Hawaiian-themed murals for their passenger cruise ships. However, with an impending war, they were placed in storage. After the war, in 1947, Matson’s flap ship, the S.S. Lurline was updated with new interiors and the Savage murals were printed as over-sized menu covers for Honolulu-bound cruise ship passengers. Sixty years later, in 2007, four beautiful original size mural reproductions of Festival of The Sea, Aloha...The Universal Word, Pomp and Circumstance and Island Feast were placed on permanent display at The RoyalHawaiian Hotel, Waikiki Beach.



Frank H. McIntosh was born in 1901 in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from the California School of Fine Arts, studied in Paris, and operated a studio in San Francisco. Between 1935–1940 McIntosh was commissioned by Matson Lines cruise ships that sailed to Hawaii and the South Pacific. During that time McIntosh produced vibrant colored airbrush designs for items ranging from luggage tags to brochures, promotional booklets, and menu covers which were featured on the ships dining rooms for the Lurline, Malolo, Mariposa, Matsonia, and Monterey. Themes for the menu artwork depicted colorful Hawaiian iconography: fruits and lavish botanical specimens, fish, luau, ukulele, lei, and stylized interpretation of Hawaiian women. McIntosh’s menu covers would go on to become treasured souvenirs among lucky passengers that traveled on Matson Lines cruise ships.



Born in 1879 in Oakland, California, John Melville Kelly pursued his passion for art by studying at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco. He then began his career as an illustrator for the San Francisco Examiner, where he worked for fourteen years. In 1923, John Kelly and his wife Kate traveled to Hawaii to work for an advertising agency. They had only planned to stay for a year, then fell in love with the islands and decided to make it their permanent home. Kate enrolled in a printmaking course at the University of Hawaii and taught John the fundamentals of etching on copper plates. During the 1940s, Matson commissioned John Kelly to design menu cover artwork: Hawaiian Night, Healani, Fisher Man, Lei Maker, Breadfruit, Hula Dancer, and Big Surf at Waikiki. Matson Lines cruise ship passengers and The Royal Hawaiian hotel guests were encouraged to keep the beautiful menus as souvenirs.



Louis Macouillard, born in 1913 in San Francisco, California, pursued his artistic education at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and the Art Students League of New York. He is most well-known for his watercolor paintings and as a commercial illustrator. During World War II, he was stationed in the South Pacific, where he skillfully created numerous watercolor works, some of which were featured in Life magazine. In the early 1960s, he was commissioned by Matson Lines to produce menu covers and travel posters that depicted the landscapes of the South Pacific: Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Samoa, offering viewers a glimpse into the enchanting allure of these tropical paradises.