enoch bolles by john raglin

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  • 7/22/2019 Enoch Bolles by John Raglin


    4 ustraton

    C er a pretty gr , a pn-up, or a gamour queen

    urng t e o en Age o ustrat on s e regne supreme. or an

    ustrator to reac t e p nnac e o ame mastery o t e ema e ormwas compusory, an ser ous e ate was g ven to t e rva c arms o

    the girls of Gibson, Christy, Fisher, Flagg, Philips, and others. These

    rtists earned huge salaries depicting their girls and became the

    first media stars. They were photographed at work in their studios

    s well as socializing with high society. Their opinions of subjectsanging from beauty to polit ics were widely published. Even their

    models were newsworthy. Magazine publishers clamored to sign

    rtists to long-term contracts to draw pretty girls, and overcrowded

    newsstands grew as monotonous as a ballroom of debutants in thesame dress. To stand out from the pack an artists girl needed some-

    thing special, and the enchanting creations of Enoch Bolles had it.

    For nearly 30 years the Bolles girl graced the covers of magazines

    such asJudgeand Film Fun negotiating shifts in hemlines and bus-

    tlines from the Edwardian, to the flapper, to the Hollywood vamp.Bolles was also a prolific advertising artist of products from bread

    to Zippo lighters, and produced hundreds of stunning color ads.

    Yet, all of Bolles advertising art has either gone unrecognized o r

    redited to others, as have many of his pin-ups. Virtually nothingwas wrtten a out o es urng s e , an t e tt e t a t as seenp rnt s nc e s r e w t s ensa tona z e a cc ou nts o e tat ng men-

    ta an p ysca ness. e most w ey reporte story a eges e

    went nsane an e n an asyum e acng s pantngs o eaut-

    u g r s w t grotesque our s es an ur sexua magery. Anot er

    cc ou nt m a nt a ns o e s su e re a s tr o e t a t r o e m o sty to pa nt at t e very pea o s career.

    y own nterest n o es was spar e y a s ng e ssuun. At a tme w e n t e c e mar e tng p oy o p u p m

    was t e scream ng g r n morta per , t e care ree spr

    o es gr was a ray o suns ne. Not ony was s e apps one y an art st w o o v ousy e womens e w

    n g y m o e rn . n a g en re t at wo u e co me c c -r

    irls losing their footing or suffering worse fates, Bolles

    emarkably competent. They skied, surfed, fly fished, sca

    ains, sailed, motorcycled, and even wing-walked their whe covers of Film Funand other magazines. As put by R

    Brown, No other nations cover girls looked as at home

    ourt or playing fields as did Enoch Bolles creations. B

    n fashion illustration early in his career and his girls ra

    he most stylishly dressed of any pin-up artist.Today, the look of the Bolles girl would b e comfortab

    etro. Despite their historical context, Bolles instilled his

    ualities that keep them fresh. With gravity-defying brea

    straight as a picket fence, and beautifully elongated han

    arefully posed and often holding a cigarette, Bolles girlthletic and shapely than those painted by his peers. Usu

    ng an incandescent smile framed by heart- shaped lips, ccasions she could be pouty or just plain bored. In esse

    was a mannerist. His girls were the deliberate creation o

    w t a u nq ue vs on o e au ty

    s mp e , y et sop s tc ato sse ss e t e s s t o a c e ve t .

    e e n gm a o n oc o e s s a u r ng g r s a n t


    na tu rmo comp e e me to r ng to g t t s e

    w o e t a staggerng egacy o over 500 magazne cover



    riginal artwork for ilm Fun, March, 1937. Oil, 24 x 30 inches.

  • 7/22/2019 Enoch Bolles by John Raglin



    rowng am y ve n New or ty e ore movng to appan,New or , an t en severa years ater sette nto t e r eong

    home in Harrington Park, New Jersey.

    In his early years Bolles was employed as a shoemaker and car-

    penter, the latter a skill he return ed to throughout his life, building

    furniture and even a boat in his spare time. Bolles art career begansoon after he was married, and his first professional assignment

    may have been for the Philadelphia Shipyard making illustrations

    f watercraft. The earliest existing examples of his professional art

    were for the Hammerschlag Printing Company of New York. He

    reated whatever the assignment called for including pen and inkrawings, hand lettered signs and packaging, and color illustrations

    for fashion cards.

    During this period Bolles took a crucial step in furthering his

    rtistic growth by attending the premier institutions of art andllustration. In the fall of 1907 he enrolled in classes at the National

    Academy of Design. His t alent was acknowledged by the Academy,

    nd in both 1907 and 1908 he was awarded the Elliot Bronze medal

    s well as being granted a special prize in 1908. In 1912, he took

    n g t courses at t e Art tu ents eague n ustrat on an compo-s t on rom war u ner. Ng t courses were genera y a tten e

    y stu ents w o were a rea y wor ng as pro ess ona ustrators.

    A t oug not note n t e r ec or s o t e A rt tu e nts

    eague, ot er

    sources n cate t a t o es stu e un er t e master nstructor,

    o ert enr . ese exper ences e t an n e e mpresson ono es, w o over a a century a ter recounte t em n remar -

    ble detail to his daughter, Elizabeth. In his letters to her, Bolles

    cknowledged the value of his education, but like other illustrators

    who had worked under Henri, Bolles frowned on his tendency to

    develop a young painter in his chosen style.A turning point in Bolles career took place in 1914 when he sold

    his first cover to Judgemagazine. Not surprisingly, the subject was

    pretty girl. In the 1910s,Judge evolved from a forum for conser-

    less advertising illustrations without seeming to leave a single trace

    f his personal life. My initial efforts to learn about Bolles producednothing but frustration. Months of sifting through genealogies, gov-

    rnmental documents, and other sources yielded the barest crumbs

    f information. Then finally a real lead: a faded newspaper clipping

    f his obituary. I learned that Bolles had died in 1976 at the age of

    3 at his home in New Jersey not in an insane asylum as alleged.The notice also included the names of his surviving family. Sadly,

    further checks indicated that seven of his eight children had since

    passed away. On the remote chance that his youngest daughter was

    still living, I began searching for her name in telephone directories.

    ut of countless entries there was only a single match. After somehesitation I nervously dialed the number and was answered by

    Enochs 86-year old daughter, Theresa.

    And so began the next chapter of my journey to bring Bolles out

    f the shadows. Time has taken its inevitable toll. Memories havea e . r e n s an am y ave p as se . u t t e a u r ng ar t o n oco es ves on an te s s story n a way t at wor s cannot.

    THE EARLY YEARSEnoch Bolles was born in Boardman,

    Florida on March 3, 1883 to Eno ch Jr. and

    the former Catherine Keep. Enochs father

    nd brothers were chemists who owned

    rchards used for making perfume. His

    wife s family also owned orchards in therea. Two years later, Enochs beloved

    sister Mary was born. When work let up

    the family traveled to Louisiana to spend

    time with Claras family or Newark where

    Enochs grandfather and other relativeslived.

    From an early age the young Enoch

    showed an aptitude for art which his par-

    n ts e nco ur ag e . e u n g p re tt y g r

    rt st was aso ortunate to grow up ur-ng t e ascenson o ares

    ana son.

    e w y popuar son g r as een

    a e t e r st nat ona me a con; a

    type t a t man ate ow a generat on owomen s ou oo an act. er popuar-

    ty roug t son extraor nary nan-

    ial rewards. Already earning handsomely,

    n 1904 Gibson signed a contract withColliersfor the unprecedent-

    d sum of $100,000; an amount that today would be approximatelywo million dollars. The original arrangement called for somewhat

    ower compensation, but the clamor raised by competing publishers

    ver such an excessive sum prompted Bob Collier and his business

    anager, Conde Nast, to raise the ante even higher and offer an

    ven $1,000 per drawing. To further roil the waters, they publishedis acceptance letter in newspapers across the country.

    Gibson wasnt the only illustrator getting rich from drawing

    retty girls. By 1910, Howard Chandler Christy and Harrison

    Fisher were each earning over $50,000 yearly. These artists quickly

    became shrewd marketers of their wares. Years before George Pettyetained reproduction rights on his famous girls for reuse in vari-

    us advertisements, Fisher described his methods for remarketing

    is magazine covers: I do not sell t hem outright, and thus they

    re returned to me. Since their first use they have already appearedn a g t oo a n my c a e n a r. e y t e n a pp ea re on p a y ngar s , a re-e t on o a g t oo , posters , an ecorat ve esgns.

    A te r a p os s e c omme rc a optons

    we re e x a us te , s e r wo u s e t e

    org nas. t er ustrators o owe sut,

    an mages o men ecame so rare on t enewsstan s t a t none ot er t an A erto

    Vargas remarked, Every magazine cover

    butNational Geographichad a painting of

    a pretty girl. None of this was lost on the

    young Bolles, and several of his earliestsurviving illustrations were of girls done


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