Sunday, September 30, 2012

On Tap: National Beer Drinking Day

Our man Bolles pulls a pint for us to celebrate this effervescent occasion.  The subject matter was as far removed from his speciality as could be, but he still really nailed it. It should be no surprise that at the same time he painted this cover in 1922 he was busy working as a food product illustrator for one of the largest advertising companies in the U.S.  Bolles himself was only a modest imbiber who never would be found in any of the gin mills his fellow "picture-makers" frequented such as the Kit Kat club.  His grandson once told me he went rediscovered a taste for beer late in his late 80s!  A decade later this cover reappeared, the editors of Judge had another artist duplicate this image (or try to) and they were equally lazy to the point of recycling the exact same copy line.  Bolles was long gone from Judge by then, but he was prideful enough about his work that if he happened to have passed it on the newsstands he wouldn't have been any too pleased.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Judge for yourself

I haven't posted many of Bolles covers from Judge, the periodical that launched his magazine career back in 1914.  Here we see one of his most his most energetic compositions, published in 1924.  Enoch crowds more ladies on the page here than he has in all but one other example (do you know?) among his other 560 (and still counting) magazine covers.  After this, he would go on to paint only a few more covers for Judge and my guess is that Bolles, like the majority of artists and writers who contributed to the magazine, ended up getting stiffed more than once and finally said enough is enough. 

Among magazine editors the staff at Judge had a notorious reputation for delaying payment.  Theodor "Suess" Geisel was thrilled to get his first regular gig with Judge but within two months they had not only reduced his pay, but would then resorted to an odd form of IOU' vouchers that Geisel could redeem for products or services of companies that advertised in Judge (not that he had much of a choice,Judge consistently lagged in selling ad space) but not money. The editors even dared to skip paying James Montgomery Flagg until he showed up unannounced at the editors office and threw a pique until the cheque was cut (more than likely he demanded cash).  Bolles milder temperament was not conducive to such tactics and by 1924 he had diversified, not only painting covers on a regular basis for Film FunSnappy Stories and other periodicals, but also producing art for the advertising and film industries.  Norman Anthony, the art editor at Judge, would likely have been thrilled if Bolles had just put one dancehall on this cover but to his delight and ours, Enoch packed the house.