This woman in peril, menace themed proposed spicy pulp oil painting by the American illustrator William Soare is a lurid and provocative example of the damsel in distress imagery which proliferated newsstands in the 1930s. To the best of our research, this pulp cover illustration appears to have never been published, which sometimes happened when the fly-by-night titles that commissioned these spicy works folded suddenly, or re-used a previous commissioned painting. William Fulton Soare was a prolific and versatile illustrator in the 20s and 30s. The artist studied under Harvey Dunn and Dean Cornwell and created covers for everything from spicy pulps to Boy’s Adventure. In 2010 this image was used as the cover for The Mystery House book title: Spies Of Destiny, a copy of which is included in the sale. Painting is signed in pencil on the back stretcher bar, and initialed with a “S” for Soare in the lower middle along, and has been handsomely framed.
From the Estate of Charles Martignette.
Stretcher bar marks/creasing and scattered surface soiling visible on front of canvas. Some paint craquelure and spidering in the lower right quadrant, painting could likely benefit from a cleaning and some minor restoration.
Bio courtesy of David Saunders :
William Fulton Soare was born 1896 in Hackensack, New Jersey. After finishing high school in Hackensack, he and his older brother joined the Army to serve in the Great War with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He achieved the rank of Sergeant.
After the war he studied art at the Sorbonne in Paris.
He returned to New York City and studied with Harvey Dunn, and Dean Cornwell at the Grand Central School of Art. In 1927 he opened an art studio at 41 Union Square in New York City.
His first assignments were illustrations for advertisements and calendars.
In 1935 he received an important public commission to paint a series on the history of progress in optics at the Hayden Planetarium for Bausch & Lomb, Inc.
He soon found work painting covers for magazines such as American Boy, Boy’s Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and covers for the magazine section of The Sunday New York Herald Tribune.
He painted freelance pulp covers for Ace-High, Action Stories, Adventure, Complete Novel, Danger Trail, Detective Yarns, Double Action Detective, Horror Stories, Mystery Novels, Short Stories, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Adventure Stories, Star Western, Thrilling Adventures, Top-Notch Western, West, Western Aces, Western Romances, Western Story, Western Trails, and Wild West Stories.
William Fulton Soare died of a heart attack at age 42 on March 1, 1940, while shoveling snow from his sidewalk in expectation of the scheduled arrival of a staff member of The Saturday Evening Post to discuss a cover illustration for an upcoming issue.