For a while I've been subscribing to Google alerts, which sends you an email whenever a search term you've specified pops up on the web. It should be no surprise that mine is set to check for Enoch Bolles, and the other day I opened a link to see this image smiling back at me. Which was a total shock. You see I happen to own this painting. No, someone didn't break into my study and snap a pic of her. Nothing quite that invasive. This image was one of many included in an article I wrote about Enoch a few years back for Illustration Magazine and due to the generosity of the publisher Dan Zimmer, I got to keep the copyrights to the article. A few people have since quoted from it and I've been noted, which is truly appreciated. Obviously, someone had to have scanned the balloon girl from the article, posted her and now she's all over the web, crosslinked back and forth so much I could never untangle the mess to figure out who was the culprit.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind Bolles getting the publicity. In fact it's the main reason I've been doing this blog for the past year and why I'm still trying to publish a book on him. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume that anyone who regularly visits this blog will agree that Bolles deserves more recognition, both for his pinups and his work in commercial illustration. So when someone uploads an image from this blog and links it back to here I'm truly grateful and will thank them for the shout-out. But this is different and frustrating. Some of the other paintings I used in the article cost me a small fortune to have photographed and I promised the owners I would not use the image for any purpose other than for publication. Clearly, it's only a matter of time before they start to show up too, but at least in this case I can still be a bit preemptive, and display her in appropriate context to an appreciative audience. I'm sure some of you also recognize the pose, the painting was a "comp" for the October 1941 cover, which in my opinion falls far short. For one the girls' outfit was reworked to hide her navel, still a big no-no on the cover (though they quit bothering to airbrush them from the interior photos years earlier). Second, it appears that the engraver cut out part of her hair-do to keep it from blocking the logo, which was a big mistake. The other change was to the balloons, which look more like balls in the final painting.
Talk about ironic, just seconds ago I got a new Google alerts, I checked the link and it's packed with Bolles images yanked from this site!