Saturday, September 22, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

One-Off Part Six

Our newest edition of the the One-Off series happens to be the very first of all Enoch's one-offs, and his third magazine cover.  Puck was an odd duck, paddling back and forth from a partisan political rag to a sort of humor mag.  For a brief stretch the covers featured what you might call proto-pinups, which were painted by the likes of Rolf Armstrong, Harry Horst Meyers, Neysa McMein and our man Bolles. Batting cleanup in this stellar lineup was the Viennese artist,Raphael Kirchner. Before moving from Paris to New York in 1914, Kirchner had established a thriving career as a society artist as well as providing illustrations for the likes of La Vie Parisienne. His work for Puck showcased a French inflected and ungartered eroticism that was absent from American illustrators.  A masterful technician, he worked in a number of media and strongly influenced the work of Alberto Vargas, who took Kirchner's place as the artist for the Zeigfeld Follies after his untimely death in 1917.  

Unlike the the girls of Kirchner and Vargas, who were content lounging in the boudoir, the Bolles girl was outdoors and on the go. Other artists, most notably Fisher and Gibson, were also painting the so-called New American Girl, but the Bolles girl was different. While the girls of Fisher or Gibson might be content with a game of croquet, the Bolles girl would rather pole dance off a buoy.  

Years later Bolles revisited this theme. The buoy may have been updated, but our Bolles girl hadn't changed a bit. She still loved to boogie!   .  

Friday, August 3, 2018

RIP Mary Carlisle 1914-2018, A True Bolles Girl

I was very sorry to learn about the recent passing of the actress, Mary Carlisle, who well may have been the last living actress to have starred in a silent movie. Some of you may recall the post I made about Mary some months ago. In it I described how Enoch often used references for his magazine covers but as far as I could tell, Mary was the only case where he deliberately kept her likeness intact. And one look at Mary makes it clear why!  I was able to locate Mary and mailed her copies two magazine covers inspired by her and she graciously signed them for me. 

If you'd like to learn about the life and career of Mary here's a good place to start.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3 is Stay Out of the Sun Day!

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Today's Bolles girl knows that if she gets too much sun her skin tone may end up matching her swimsuit! This charming cover hit the newsstands 83 years ago this month (in 1935, if you don't want to do the math) and is one of several Enoch painted over the years featuring sun parasols. I think used them to add some interest to the composition and I'd be very curious to know if the tips of the parasol were cropped out of view in the original painting. The overhang of the parasol, along with the girl's extended legs, each work to project the painting toward the viewer, and that cool blue shadow adds additional depth to the perspective.

Stay tuned to this channel for more Summer themed posts as well as the continuing "One-Off" series featuring magazines that Enoch only painted a single cover for.  And there may be a post in the near future with some Big Bolles news.  That's all I can say for now.  In the meantime, don't forget to use sunscreen of one sort or another when you go out in the sun.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

One-off Part Five


Our latest installment in the One-off series ranks as the biggest outlier of them all. Bolles would only paint two more covers for the movie fan magazine genre and this was his sole cover for Screen Romances. I think the only reason Bolles did the cover was due to the prodding of the magazine's art director, Abril Lamarque, who also served in that role for Film Fun. Initially, Lamarque was hired by Film Fun to draw monthly full page pen and ink panels but he was soon given additional responsibilities to rework the look of the  magazine.

While I'd rank this as a very successful cover and a good likeness, Bolles artistic DNA is anything but dominant. My theory is that he was assigned to make this cover as Rolf Armstrong-like as possible. Hence the gigantic signature, which is uncharacteristically camouflaged into the background. Neither Armstrong nor Bolles were shy about making their signatures pop out with bold tones.  Another reason I think Bolles channeled Armstrong is that his blending and tonality make the image look more like it was done with pastels, the medium Armstrong worked in (he had an enormous pallet of over a thousand pastels) than oil. In fact I think Armstrong took notice when Bolles produced a cover the movie fan magazine,Talking Screen (which was soon re-titled Silver Screen after the novelty of the "talkies" wore off).  Barely a month after Bolles' cover appeared, Armstrong duplicated the exact pose for a competing magazine (but that's another story left for later).

So why didn't Bolles do more of these? There certainly was a market for movie star portraiture and this example proves he could depict accurate likenesses in the prevailing style of the time. Bolles had also completed several full-figure poses of movie stars for Film Fun. The answer I think was a matter of economy and economics. More than once Bolles whipped out a cover painting for the spicy pulps (call them smooshes if you wish) within the span of a single day, and he was pretty much free to create what he wished with little or no meddling by the art director (if there was one). And for a time he had a virtual monopoly on them (Tattle Tales, Gay Book, Pep Stories, Bedtime Stories, Stolen Sweets, Spicy Stories, Gay Parisienne...). The money may not have been great but all those covers added up.  In contrast, the competition by artists for the movie fan mags was fierce and the covers required precise but flattering portraiture. 

But let's not lay blame on our man Bolles for taking the easy way out. Working for the movie fan mags would have yielded a modest number of beautiful but blandish images, each toeing to the approved style and closely based on stock head shots provided by the movie studios. Instead, we are witnesses to the three decade journey of an unfettered artistic original who left a legacy of nearly 600 magazine covers free from the dictates of art directors, finicky fans, ego-driven stars, and the priggish censor.  Lucky us!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

One-Off Part Four

Of all Bolles' one-shot covers today's example, published in 1929, reigns above all others. What a mashup!  There's the piquant; a fairy.  There's the pungent; she happens to be naked (except for the stylish shoes. No way Bolles could resist adding them). There's the peppery; she's embracing a rather dour peacock. And then the pleasing; the ultramarine field of pansies.  Yes, Ginger was preserved, perfectly!  Sadly, Bolles was never to paint another cover for this title. But if you want your own there's a really great copy currently for sale on eBay But don't hesitate, this auction ends in just a few hours!