This shoot ’em up action packed Western Americana illustration titled The Rider From Rio appeared as the April 22, 1933 cover of Street & Smith’s – Wild West Weekly. By the prolific and gifted American painter, John Coughlin, this exciting old west scene exemplifies the fighting cowboy spirit that was essential to the Western pulps. A fresh to the market east coast estate find from the descendants of a former employee of Street & Smith. The work has been restored and cleaned and is handsomely framed in a rustic wood gallery frame – by all accounts just a fabulous example of the genre and a rare surviving Golden Age of Illustration pulp cover painting.
John Albert Coughlin : A Bio by David Saunders
John A. Coughlin was born January 23, 1885 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, James Joseph Coughlin, was an Irish-American grocer born 1854 in Illinois. In 1900 he took a two-year commercial artist course with Jobson Emilien Paradis, who had studied in Paris with Gerome. In 1902 he was awarded a commercial diploma.
In 1903 he began to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, from which he graduated in 1906. After he completed his training he worked in advertising, which appeared in Chicago publications.
In 1912 he moved to New York City, where he opened an art studio at 880 West 181st Street in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan. His apartment building was on the corner with Riverside Drive, so his studio had a spectacular view of the Hudson River.
In 1913 he painted his first pulp cover assignment for Street & Smith’s The Popular Magazine. That same year he also painted covers for Harper’s Weekly.
In 1914 he illustrated The Brown Mouse by Herbert Quick, editor of Farm and Fireside Magazine. He also painted several covers for People’s Magazine.
He painted the April 24, 1915 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. In October of that same year he created the pulp cover for the first issue of Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine. He went on to create almost all of the covers for this same title over the next twenty years.
Besides painting covers for The Popular and Detective Story, he did pulp covers for Argosy, Complete Stories, Detective Fiction Weekly, Detective Tales, Real Western, Short Stories, Top-Notch, and Wild West Weekly.
His cover for the March 7, 1931 issue of Detective Story Magazine is the first painted appearance of The Shadow on a pulp magazine.
In 1934 he opened an art studio in College Point, Queens, where his next-door neighbor was the renowned sculptor Hermon MacNeil.
John A. Coughlin died in College Point, Queens, NY, at the age of fifty-eight on April 3, 1943.