The Pin Up Art of Enoch Bolles

enochbollesOne of the greats of the pin up genre was Enoch Bolles.

In the 1930’s, his beautiful work graced many a publication, including—

Covers for hundreds of periodicals,
ranging from film, glamour and men’s humor magazines….

Mutoscope style exhibit cards, calendars —

And, advertising art for large sponsors like Zippo Lighters and Sun Maid Raisins.

TS

Today, although his work is usually readily familiar,

………………… the artist himself is relatively unknown.

Yet, Enoch Bolles was a genuine pioneer —

One of the very first artists who conveyed the sexy side of women in the style that we have come to call “Pin Up Art”.

When discussing the genre with my fellow enthusiasts,

I often hear Bolles mentioned,

………….. but almost always in terms of his magazine covers.

bolles4

And it’s true,

……….. his covers were wonderful, and are highly prized today by collectors.

He did over 200 covers for “Film Fun” alone…

……………… and hundreds more for other pulp mags of the time.

And, his work looks just as good–bolles_zippo_1937
sometimes, even better- when it stands alone.

He is very well regarded for his “Windy Girl” illustration for the Zippo Lighter company

Done in 1937, it has become an icon of advertising art, and inspired their current Vargas “Windy Girl” ads…..

….. as you study advertising art of the period, you run into many examples of work that was inspired by this very campaign.

Born in 1883, and a native of Marion County, Florida, Bolles moved to New Jersey as a child, and lived there most of his life.

Bowles was a graduate of the famous National Academy of Design, in New York City.

Judge1914

His early work was very different than the prevailing style of illustration at the time, and an artist familiar with Enoch’s work recommended him to Dell Publishers,

so he was invited to submit a piece…

………. and thus, had his first work published on the cover of Judge Magazine in 1914.

Covers for ‘Puck’ and ‘Film Fun’ soon followed.

‘Spicy Stories’, the most popular men’s magazine of the period, used his art for their covers almost exclusively,

…. and Bolles was invited to do the inaugural covers of two new volumes–
‘ Gay Book ‘ and ‘ Cupid’s Capers ‘.catch

Other pulp publications he did work for included:

‘Bedtime Stories’ , ‘Snappy Stories’,
‘Tattletales’, ‘Gay Parisienne’,
‘Titter’, ‘Breezy Stories’,
‘Laughter’, ‘Movie Humor’,
‘Pep’, et al.

His work was perfect for the light-hearted nature of these kinds of magazines,

And through them, Bowles popularized a certain sophisticated double-entendre kind of cover art.

He chose his own captions for the art-

wild

such as:
Make Way for This Siren ” ,
and ” Time to Start Gazing” .

There is a joyfulness and playfulness that tie the illustrations to the captions in a very unique way.

Bolles likes to create his work on canvas in mostly primary colors,

…. in contrast to how the majority of magazine artists of the period were doing it.

He is also known for the very provocative and creative Deco era costumes he drew his subjects wearing—- foot

………… and particular attention is often paid to footwear.

Certainly, a few excellent artists emulated Bolles’ style,

like Earle Bergey, George Quintana….

Even his famous Zippo ad has been often mistakenly attributed to Alberto Vargas.

(Early Vargas works are distinctly Bolles-like.)

But I’ve often been able to quickly tell whether or not a work was his, by the amount of detail and style of the shoes.

He did a number of gorgeous works featuring Hollywood celebrities of the time….

His cover of Norma Shearer for ‘Talking Screen’ is a perfect example of his approach.

normashearer

He also worked with several major movie studios to produce advertising pieces for motion picture releases,

….. like Fox Studio’s 1931 “Bad Girl”.
( see bottom image ) snug

His professional career spanned about 30 years,
from 1914 to 1943—
when he was hospitalized for a long term illness, and retired.

After his retirement, up to his death in 1976,
he never produced another commercial artwork, despite living to age 93.

He did, however, create some commissioned portraits….

….. and still painted for his own personal pleasure, up until his death.

But, during those 30 years, as a professional illustrator,
Bolles produced a startling variety of artwork,
some of which has become part of the backdrop of American culture.

enoch_bolles_trans

Just when I think I’ve seen them all,
…. I find one I haven’t seen before, or didn’t know was his.

Part of the reason for that is that he often neglected to sign his work, or insure attribution for it.

So, there is a good chance that unknown Bolles works still exist.

And since his original canvases are extremely rare and valuable—

There’s just one more reason to keep your eyes out for vintage Pin-Ups .

.

1931foxfilms

If you like Pin Ups,
check out my other posts on these famous Pin Up Artists :

George Petty
Gil Elvgren
Zoe Mozert
Earl Moran
Wilson Hammell
Fritz Willis
Rolf Armstrong
Raphael Kirchner
Sailor Jerry Collins (tattoo artist)
Lloyd Rognan
Joyce Ballantyne
Henry Clive

And of course, there’s plenty of other posts about art in my archives.

Cheers —

———— and thanks for dropping by !

Note: the utilization of copyrighted images on this post falls under the Fair Use Provisions of 17 U.S.C. § 107, and are included for non-commercial, educational purposes only. However, any requests for withdrawal of specific images by the copyright holders will be respected —
please email carolinamuscle@outlook.com for more specifics.

 

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25 thoughts on “The Pin Up Art of Enoch Bolles

  1. […] Enoch Bolles is making quite a comeback in popularity these days… […]

  2. Jen says:

    Fun artwork, that’s for sure — it has real spirit!
    Noticing most of the pieces here show the lady with her chin up — looking up — they’re fun women and definitely not shy wallflowers — playful but somehow powerful too.

  3. I love his work!
    As a female, I’m drawn to the faces.
    🙂
    HUGS!!! Happy Whee-kend!!! 🙂

  4. Brett says:

    Bolles had talent!

  5. In “something snug for your approval”, you really want to see her stand up so you can see how that gown flows over her body. In my inexperienced eye Bolles detail in his work really rocks!

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