Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pattern Recognition: Today is Tartan Day

This cover from late 1942 is one of Bolles very last of all.  Film Fun, which started in 1915 folded two issues later, having had its second class postage privileges revoked by Grant Walker, the Postmaster General. He may have pulled the pulled the plug on the magazine, but it was by the directive of the Catholic National Organization for Decent Literature, which regularly sent his office lists of magazines they deemed too "stimulating" for the general public.  Film Fun sent some lawyers to Washington to plead their case but it was to no avail.  The final issue included a short tribute to Bolles who aside from the occasional fan letter, had not garnered any mention within its pages since the late 1920s.  Along with this being a really nice painting, it's an example of a trend in Bolles work that had only just starting showing up in his art. 

Take a closer look.  Can you see a pattern in this cover and the others I've posted?  Well of course you can, and therein lies the trend.  Bolles was starting to integrate complex patterns in his outfits: tartan, stripes, gingham, none of which were evident during the previous three decades of his career. He had resorted to the occasional polka-dot and a lot of outfits included floral motifs (strategically positioned to hint at anatomical details) but that was about it.  But in 1941 he started a series of covers with excruciatingly exacting patterns, beginning with stripes.  They are great but you have to wonder why all the extra work.  Then there was his mathematical tour de force, the showgirl cover for the first issue of  Titter, with the exquisitely rendered fishnet stockings.  Published in 1943 it was his last cover.  What a going away present for his fans, then and now.


Li-An said...

Well, a good reason to do so is to show female forms in suggestion. And it add a geometric decorative part that outlined bare skin (thing of Klimt work).

Alan Wrobel said...

Just plain dazzling to the eye and mind!