Monday, August 23, 2010

Pretty in pink: Enoch Bolles

American covert art illustrator Enoch Bolles had a jaunty way with a pin-up!

This is one of my Bolles favorites, partly because of her fabulous outfit.  She's far more covered up than most of his other ladies ... Bolles had a real eye for the female form, with his luscious but rarely lascivious illustrations for magazine covers and advertisements.

On the whole, I'd much rather see a painting than an airbrushed photograph of a beautiful woman.  Are they any less unrealistic than an airburshed photo?  No, but there is a lot the hand of an artist can "say" when s/he isn't limited by the constraints of a camera.

Of course, in his heyday (1883-1976) many of these works would have been considered terribly risque.  I think they are as flirtatious and engaging as anything I've seen in a modern magazine, if not more so.

Wouldn't it be fun to see some of today's actresses painted in this style?  Picture a Drew Barrymore or -- even better -- a Christina Hendricks painted in Bolles' signature style.  Their bombshell appeal (yes, I think Drew's got a bombshell side) would just pop off the page!

These women had healthy, appealing curves.  I especially like Bolles' way with legs.  These were legs with real curves, unlike the stick figures in today's glossies.  Yes, they were idealized -- but hasn't Hollywood and the media always been about idealization?   Is it any less so today?

At least women were allowed their lush curves back then!  Maybe someday we will be again, and the adoration of the bony frame will be relegated to the back of the closet where it belongs.

Viva la femme!

images:  American Art Archives

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Always nice to see a post by a Bolles fan. If you would like to see some more Bolles I have an entire site devoted to his life and art--including a lot of rare images--at: