A stunning, patriotic World War II era pastel by famed American illustrator Bradshaw Crandell. This appeared as the cover of the April, 1942 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Intriguingly, posed in the Navy uniform was a young Yale Law student and male model named Gerald Ford, who would go on to be the 38th president of the United States. The pretty blonde was frequent Crandell model Phyliss Brown, who was at the time the main squeeze of the future leader of the free world. This surprising bit of history was the subject of attention in a 1978 issue of Newsweek. The clipping is pictured below and included in the sale.
Bradshaw Crandell (1896-1966) was one of the most famous “pretty girl artists” of his day. The artist possessed an uncanny knack for the ability to merge romance, glamour and sex appeal.
But Crandell rarely contributed a “pure” pin-up. His fame chiefly rests with his twelve years of cover girls (in the 1930s and ’40s) for Cosmopolitan, where he succeeded famed cover-girl specialist Harrison Fisher.
Crandell provided covers for numerous other prestigious magazines, including Redbook, Judge, The Saturday Evening Post and The Ladies’ Home Journal. He also produced movie poster art for Twentieth Century Fox.
Occasionally he did a calendar or took an advertising assignment that fell more squarely in the realm of the pin-up, proving that had he wanted to go head to head with Petty, Vargas and the rest, he would have been held in the same esteem with these artists today. His first cover was for Judge Magazine, in 1921. Others followed for College Humor, American, Ladies’ Home Journal, Motion Picture,The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s and Redbook. Crandell took over Cosmopolitan covers from Harrison Fisher where his pastels of pretty models and actresses (Carole Lomboard, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake) made him famous. His ad work includes Old Gold Cigarettes (pre-dating Petty), Palmolive, Buick and others. In 2006, he was voted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.