Thursday, August 4, 2011

Artist Feature: Enoch Bolles

My blogging may be rather sparse over the next two weeks as I'll be moving back to Atlanta and then immediately heading out to Oregon for a few days for my cousin's wedding... 

So - I'll leave you with some eye-candy: the gorgeous and, ahem, very naughty artwork of Enoch Bolles! One of the most successful earlier glamour artists, he did cover art for tons of magazines in his heyday (the nineteen-teens through the 1940s), but he also did a lot of advertising work - an interesting and unfortunate little piece of trivia is that his "Windy Girl" work for Zippo lighters is often mis-credited to Alberto Vargas (who was in fact very influenced by Bolles).

While gathering up some pictures from around the web for this post, I happened across a fabulous blog dedicated to his artwork! Check it out if you like his images, there is a lot of good information (and tons of rare images) there. 

I just love the utter richness of his work: the jewel-toned color palates, the "overripe girls" (a perfect description from the folks at the Bolles blog), the impossible/ridiculous but wonderfully fantastical poses and situations of the Bolles girls. And as it is with any pinup work, his portrayals of the female figure are unrealistic: the girls have cartoonishly beautiful faces and impossible curves that could make Rita Hayworth look boyish, but that doesn't spoil it for me - in fact, its part of what I enjoy about his work, and good pinup art in general. It's not supposed to be realistic, its idealized and over-the-top and it doesn't take itself too seriously. 

But enough talk, here are just a few of the many beautiful illustrations done by Bolles. Believe it or not, I actually tried to choose his less-naughty/suggestive pieces - Google his name and there is some much more blush-inducing work of his out there! 
1941. This gorgeous lady reminds me a bit of an inflated Hedy Lamarr... inflated boobs, inflated lips..
1916. "Look before you leap this year!"
This is definitely one of my top favorites! Because the first time I saw this I laughed out loud, very loud. And I still audibly chuckle most times I look at this. The guy's face is priceless, and it's a moment perfectly suspended in time, both sentimentally beautiful and genuinely humorous, something that I think is very difficult to pull off in images and is thus very impressive to me. I know the feeling of the guy in the water - I always get afraid of getting accidentally jumped on by friends at the pool, and I also always check the water before I jump off a diving board!



I believe the date says 1923.
Now, I'll admit I know no nothing about surfing. But I can't help but feel that if you stood that far up on a surfboard while on a wave, and in that position, you wouldn't last a second before falling over. 
Great Garbo! I assume this is from 1929, since that's the year her film "The Kiss" came out...

1926, I think. 
1914. Apparently, this is the work that started it all! It wasn't his first cover, but it was very popular and was the spark to begin his long career. 
1924. I actually recall this being the girl Enoch Bolles image I ever saw. I had it saved on my computer for months before I found out who the artist was. 
1938. I just love the emerald and ruby colors in this one. 
1929. I think her outfit is adorable, but I cannot imagine that it makes very comfortable PJs. Those shoulder puffs would be such a bother trying to sleep on! 
1924. I have no idea why she should be cornered, that croc is small enough that she could just stand on it or something. 
1937. I want her shoes!
1933, I think. I also really love this one - I'm a little prudish about her being in her nuddy pants, but there's so much prettiness - the coloring really does make it look like the light is provided by a setting sun, the shadows themselves are rich, her skin glowing. 
1937. Okay, I want these shoes most of all. Also, another gorgeous outfit, but not one that I can see being very useful unless you are a chorus girl. Which she very well may be, as the writing on the wall reads "Scene 3". 


1929. A surprisingly realistic/not uber-curvy figure for a Bolles girl!


- Emily


  1. Hahaha, I definitely laughed out loud at the "Look before you leap" picture too!

  2. Whoa, the one with the snowman is saucy! These are great!

  3. Love Bolles! You've actually found some I haven't seen before. "Nuddy pants!" You crack me up!

    Good luck with your move and enjoy the trip to Oregon!

  4. Thanks ladies! I'm glad these were a hit with you! :)

  5. Great post and thanks for the shout-out about my Bolles web-site. There's more to come and hopefully a book in the not too distant future.

  6. Oh, a book would be great! I've love to have some Bolles prettiness to see on paper (or just not on the computer screen).
    - Emily