Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nurse Day Today!!

I think this is a really nice cover. It's from 1928 and is such an unusual topic for Bolles, the only nurse related image of his I've encountered. Virtually all the top illustrators of the Golden Age employed nurses in their World War I posters including Christy, Fisher, Flagg (who stuck himself in a poster in his Uncle Sam regalia, groping the nurse) and others. I've long pondered why Bolles didn't contribute to this effort as well, but from what I've learned there was a pecking order for who and who didn't get to produce war posters and given that Flagg had a lot to do with organizing the creation of these posters as part of the Civilian Preparedness Committee, there was more than a little self-promotion involved. These depictions had little connection to the women who actually served in the front lines, who were made of far sturdier stuff than the standard issue pretty girls in the posters.


Alan Wrobel said...

Nice post Jack. You'd think the buxom nurse hovering over the man-on-the-mend would have made for a more popular pin-up art scene but I can't think of any either!

darwination said...

I came across a page in a wartime issue of Leslie's today that reminded me of this post re: Flagg's penchant for self-promotion

Apparently Leslie's got some good mileage from the popularity of Flagg's images as well. I've always found the image in the upper right of Germany as thuggish brute disturbing but I guess it's easy to say that with the distance of years.

I'd never considered the lack of pin-up nurses on pulp covers before, but it's very surprising to the modern man. Even the nurses in these WWI posters have a sort of angelic quality to them. Perhaps the more overtly sexual image of the naughty nurse is a fairly recent construction...