Charles Gates Sheldon

1889-1961

Charles Sheldon was a prolific and gifted early 1900's American Illustrator who specialized in "pretty woman" themed cover portraiture and advertising in the Art Nouveau and Edwardian styles. After studying at the Art Students League, he went to Paris to study under the legendary Alphonse Mucha. He returned to America and set up a studio at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Above: The artist's studio with posed harlequin adorned models showing Mucha's influence in styling

In 1918 Sheldon received his first pin-up commission, a series of ads for La Vogue lingerie. He went on to do a series of work for the Fox Shoe Company as well as front covers for Collier's Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post and Photoplay.

Above: Gelatin silver photograph by Sheldon showing a flapper girl model on Indian Motorcycle for Fox Shoes


Above: A model for Fox Shoes as posed and photographed by Charles Sheldon

By 1921 he was contributing high fashion portraits to Woman's Home Companion and Theater magazine. Famous women all over the world arranged to sit for portraits in his studio in Carnegie Hall in New York.
The pastels he created for Photoplay 1925- 1930 launched his career as a portrait cover artist. During this time period most of the stars sat three or four times for each of these portraits, later came cover art commissions for Screenland, Movie Classic and Radio Digest magazines.

Above: Pastel Portrait of Jean Harlow currently for sale at Grapefruitmoongallery

His glamorous interpretations of Clara Bow, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Gilda Gray, Mary Pickford, Shirley Temple and hundreds of other early tinsel town enchantresses were in high demand for these attention grabbing newsstand viewed publications.

Above: Gilda Gray as photographed by the artist


Above: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks posed and photographed by Charles Sheldon


Above: Evelyn Brent in Photoplay cover by Charles Sheldon


Above: Another example of the artists cover work for Photoplay

Charles Sheldon like many of his contemporary illustrators was also a competent photographer, Grapefruit Moon Gallery recently acquired a large archive of his Carnegie Hall studio portraits that we will be offering for sale on our ebay site in the coming months.

Above: A posed photograph by Charles Sheldon


Above: Charles Gates Sheldon in early photo

In 1936, Breck Shampoo asked this famous portrait artist to develop a national ad campaign and the ever-successful "Breck Girl" advertisements were born, Sheldon is known to have created 109 portraits for them until his retirement in the late 1950's.

Above: A Great Depression Era hand painted Christmas card likely done by the artist's wife Grace Sheldon

Charles Sheldon was one the highest paid illustrators of his time and his cover illustrations were ingrained in the minds and eyes of the American people. He died in 1961 at his home in Springfield with his beloved summer gardens.

Above: 1930 Calendar Illustation for Brown & Bigelow Titled " The Glorified American Girl "