Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Four Square Man Returns in Dick Frizzell's Great New Zealand Songbook Prints

Original artwork by Dick Frizzell was commissioned for the critically acclaimed Great New Zealand Songbook project and we are delighted to have all four of these very special limited edition Dick Frizzell prints in stock this morning.


The Great New Zealand Songbook is a 100 page hardcover journal featuring handwritten lyrics, photos and memorabilia from famous New Zealand musicians like Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga and Anika Moa.

These prints (Give it A Whirl, Rock On, Four Four Time (shown here at right) and Side A, Side B) have been nicknamed the "Charlie" series after the supposed real name of the "Four Square Man" character that appears in the artwork especially commissioned from Dick Frizzell by boutique Auckland music company Thom Music for the Great New Zealand Songbook.

Mr Four Square has been a recurring motif in Frizzell's paintings and prints and this time he uniquely re-appears with a guitar slung around his neck.

According to Icon Images, the official licensee of the vintage Mr Four Square logo and image from Four Square store's parent company Foodstuffs (Auckland) Limited Mr Four Square "is the famous smiling logo for the Four Square stores that have conveniently served the local communities and towns around New Zealand for the past 81 years.  Locals, visitors, overseas tourists and especially kids all love our very friendly Mr Four Square."  They go on to write about the origins of the Four Square name, which emerged nearly 90 years ago when "J. Heaton Barker, the founder of Foodstuffs, called together members of the Auckland Master Grocers Association to discuss the formation of a co-operative buying group of independent grocers.  The aim was to counter the activities of grocery chain stores who were making life very difficult for independent grocers.  The name Four Square emerged when Mr Barker, while talking on the phone, drew a square around the 4 of the date on his calendar.  He immediately realised he had a suitable name for the buying group, stating that "they would stand 'Four Square' to all the winds that blew"."

It was not until the 1950s that anonymous staffers in the Foodstuffs advertising department designed the now famous Four Square man (or Mr Four Square to give him his proper title) - an attribution that is often erroneously given to Dick Frizzell who had simply appropriated the Four Square store's logo in prints such as True Colours and Four Square Man.

Please place your order promptly for these handmade Frizzell limited edition prints as they are sure to sell out very speedily - in particular nearly all of the prints in the edition of Four Four Time were gifted to the musicians who participated in the Great NZ Songbook project so only a very few of these prints are actually available to print collectors outside of this very select group of New Zealanders.

3 comments:

  1. An officially licensed Four Square Man print and poster have just been released in September 2010, the first time this iconic piece of kiwiana art has been available as a reproduction print or poster.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just out of interest...
    The so called "anonymous staffers in the Foodstuffs advertising department" are not actually anonymous! My grandfather, Ernest Cox owned Cox advertising studios and was employed by many New Zealand Companies including 4 square to design and create the masters for their advertising campaigns. This included the Four Square Man. My mother remembers standing next to her father watching him draw the original sketches in the early 50's, possibly late 40's, which had his hand waving not giving the thumbs up. I have original drawings of advertising art work, which also include many 4 Square posters, showing the famous 4 Square Man!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey anonymous above . i am interested in your story as i am doing a college project on the origins and eveloutions of the four square man could you contact me so i could interview you

    ReplyDelete