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Doug Lynch

Doug Lynch was one of the most prominent mid-century designers in Portland, a WPA artist, teacher and man behind the Portland flag. A graduate of the Museum Art School, Doug was known for his 1930s Timberline Lodge murals, his years as Art Director at Jantzen, and his perfectly calligraphed letters to design friends and enemies alike!


Design Collection 1 from John Lynch

All work by Doug Lynch. Source for this collection: John Lynch unless otherwise noted, with scanning made possible by PSU grant.

Slide 1: Spring Opening, likely contest entry, c. 1930.

Slide 2: 1930 Poster for The Rialto Theater (later the Fox Theatre) in downtown Portland in support of a Fox West Coast Theater campaign titled, “Greater Talkie Season“ to promote theater-going in the advent of the “talkies“(films with soundtracks).

Slide 3-4: Poster design for Blitz-Weinhard beer, year unknown. The foundational Northwest beer, later known as Henry's, was brewed in what is now known as the Brewery Blocks in the Pearl District.

Slide 5: Original art for Jantzen graphic “Ports of Call“ sometime while he was Art Director: 1957-1963.


Design Collection 2 from John Lynch

All work by Doug Lynch. Source for this collection: John Lynch unless otherwise noted, with scanning made possible by PSU grant.

Slide 1: Grocers Cooking School Food Show Poster for event at Hotel Multnomah (now Embassy Suites), 1930.

Slide 2: Original art for poster for Ireland's restaurant at SW 6th and Washington, 1930. Ireland’s restaurant ran from 1924 -1972 and was famous for toasted sandwiches.

Slide 3: Portland Symphony Orchestra poster for composer Carlos Chavez, 1960.

Slide 4: Calligraphic logo for Abbott, Kearns & Bell Company, c. 1960

Slide 5: “Will you give enough?“ WWII propaganda poster in support of the Red Cross.

Slide 6: Original drawing of “Pepper's Diary“ comic by Doug Lynch for 1931 Grant High School Yearbook.


Fine Art Collection

All work by Doug Lynch. Source for this collection: John Lynch unless otherwise noted, with scanning made possible by PSU grant.

Slide 1: Original illustration from 1956 for custom wallpaper for the suites in the Matson Steamship lines. Matson requested the unusual aspect ratio to deter theft by making it difficult to fit the pieces into a suitcase.

Slide 2-13: A variety of illustrative work for clients or personal pieces. Some pieces still have the white out and remnants of the glue edges, which would not have been shown in the final work. Titles and years unknown.


Portland Flag: A Timeless Design

Left: Doug Lynch with flag. Photo courtesy of Fritz Liedtke, 2006.

According to an analysis of the history of Portland flags by Mason Kaye, Doug Lynch described the process of of creating and adopting an acceptable city flag as, “a project where even angels fear to tread.“ Even so, he accepted the challenge, asking city officials to answer a questionnaire about the whether the flag should be pictorial vs abstract, whether it should contain a motto, and about its color use. Lynch advocated against the use of the seal, which he thought inappropriate. He had high hopes for his creation. He said, “It would be good, for a change, to accomplish something worthy and beautiful for the city with a minimum of stirred-up controversy.“ With this, it seems many years later, he has succeeded.

Below: Portland city flag designed by Doug Lynch in 2002, an alteration of his 1969 design.


Ephemera from Doug Lynch & Associates

Courtesy of the Portland Art Museum Library and Archives, Portland, Oregon.

Doug Lynch & Associates was a design collective at one time comprised of Doug Lynch, Joe Erceg, Frank Glickman, Clyde Van Cleve and Tom Lincoln. Offices were located at 10 SW Ash, and they sold themselves as “Gentlemen especially skilled in the practice of graphic design.“

Ephemera from Artwork Associates

Courtesy of Tom Lincoln

Artwork Associates was a design collective located in a Victorian walk-up at 920 SW 14th St. The studio at one time comprised of Doug Lynch, Tom Lincoln, Don MacGregor, Spence Gill, Paul Shreve, Stan Putman, Janet Green, John Strejan, and Milli Eaton.


News Clippings

Letters from Doug Lynch to Mary Ellen and Irwin McFadden


Timberline Lodge Murals of the WPA

All work by Doug Lynch. Source for this collection: A. Davey Coogan on Flickr.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was a part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal lasting from 1935–1941. It created relief for artists struggling during the Depression by directly giving work opportunities in their disciplines. These federal work programs created a lasting legacy of a modern art styles in a variety of mediums. View more of the arts and interiors of Timberline Lodge.

Slides 1-3: The Arch, Barlow Room, Timberline Lodge. In 2002, Doug Lynch was quoted as saying, “The works in the space over the north wall arches were painted originally in flat, bright poster colors. They offer a whimsical look at some activities of early [20th] century Oregon folk."

Slides 4-8: Oil and shellac on carved linoleum made 1937-1938. In 2002, Doug Lynch reflected on this work: “In the '30s, I was active in the design of display windows, posters and murals for Portland, Oregon's department stores, 45 restaurants and businesses. This work in the daily walk-around arts of the city was given considerable prominence, and I was commissioned to participate in the Timberline Lodge project with these panels. They show the pleasures of the slopes and streams of Mt. Hood as they were enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts at the time.“ Many of these segments are faded, they would have been much more brightly colored. Slide 4: “The Pack Horse“. Slide 5: “Hoedown.“ Slide 6: a segment from “Frying Trout“. Slide 7: “At the Dining Hall“. Slide 8: “The Ski Hill“.


1959 Speech by Doug Lynch on the topic, Is there a Northwest Regionalism?

This is the full transcript of remarks made by Lynch on November 21, 1959 to the Second Northwest Art Directors Conference.

Download PDF • 16.17MB


Doug Lynch the Teacher

Doug Lynch taught the next generation of Modernist designers at the Museum Art School (what is now PNCA). Ellen McFadden studied under Doug Lynch, who she notes, “was the top freelance graphic designer—at that time called an advertising artist—in Portland in the immediate years following WWII.“ She reflects, “Doug Lynch brought the concept of design to Portland advertising. I first met Doug Lynch in the spring of 1947 when he was the Commercial Design instructor the Museum Art School. I was enrolled as a full-time student and it was a tough class that was totally new to me. I especially remember class trips to his studio, a penthouse in a new downtown building. He took the class on all kinds of tours and had gatherings at his home. He introduced us to the work of Paul Rand and Rand's writing. Doug was a marvelous illustrator.“

Photos Courtesy of the Portland Art Museum and PNCA. Top photo:“Museum Art School Graphic Design Class with Instructor Douglas Lynch and Dennis Cunningham (center).” Photograph circa 1961. Bottom photo: “Graphic Design Instructor Douglas Lynch” Photograph circa 1960-1965.


Tom Lincoln on his longtime friend and colleague, Doug Lynch:

“Doug was a very irascible character, a mellow Irishman with a prickly underbelly, like the underbelly of a genius. However, when he really turned on his charm, he was one of the most charismatic people I ever knew. He was a top notch designer, a grueling task master. He was a formative influence for me, but he alienated a lot of people. When I left Doug Lynch Associates, he and I had a falling out, but we mended that after I left Portland for New York City. We maintained a lifelong friendship, and were fishing buddies until the late 90s. In those later years we would discuss philosophical and spiritual matters for hours on end.” ~Tom Lincoln

Photo courtesy of Fritz Liedtke, 2006.


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