From the time that Anton Bruehl set up a studio in 1926 through to its closure in 1966, advertising work was the mainstay of the business. The popular and critical success of his witty and elegant Weber and Heilbroner Fabric Group campaign in 1927–28 soon led to major assignments with other clients.

Photography was beginning to replace drawn illustration in magazine artwork in the 1920s and many of the top photographers, including other Clarence H White School alumni such as Paul Outerbridge and Ralph Steiner, turned their skills to producing stylishly modern images aimed at encouraging the appetite of the American public for consumer goods. By the 1940s, photography—and increasingly, colour photography—had become the chief form of magazine illustration.

Bruehl delighted in setting up complex tableaux in the studio. He worked as part of a team, which included his brother Martin, art directors and long-time collaborators such as Willi Noell, a specialist model maker. Noell frequently worked from cardboard models made by Bruehl himself, whose training as an engineer served him well. Bruehl often spent days solving design problems, and his witty and imaginative solutions won him many awards over the years.

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