Milady Beautiful, calendar art by Edward Eggleston
This is an enchanting oil on canvas painting by artist and illustrator Edward Eggleston. A beguiling Jazz Age fantasy image, this portrait features a rosy cheeked flapper girl draped in a floral piano shawl. Seated in an arched window, she takes in the moonlit sky. A skillfully rendered piece, Eggleston employed heavy impasto in his background work on the canvas to truly capture the textures and actual feel of an exotic locale stucco wall.
This piece was published as calendar art for the Gerlach Barklow Co. under the title “Milady Beautiful”. A vintage calendar print is included in the sale.
This has been signed by the artist in the lower left corner of the image. The painting is in fine archived condition and displays only minor surface wear along the bottom of the image. Painting is housed in it’s original beautifully carved wood gesso frame with mesmerizing detail.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Edward Eggleston
Edward Mason Eggleston (22 November 1882 – 14 January 1941) was an American painter who specialized in calendar portraits of women, fashionable and fantastic. He was also a well known commercial illustrator doing work for companies such as the Fisk Tire Company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Great Lakes Exposition.
He attended the Columbus Art School in Columbus, Ohio and moved to New York about 1915, where he worked to illustrate magazine covers, travel posters, advertisements and calendars. He worked primarily with oil paints on canvas, and also with pastels, water colors, and gouache.
Eggleston tapped into an American trend toward escapist fantasy during the Great Depression years of the 1930s. Described as “storytelling,” his calendar works focused on women in stylish and fashionable dresses and hats, swimwear, or costumed as Native-American women, “Egyptian goddesses,” pirate girls, and women in the character of Peter Pan.
Eggleston painted to create illustrations. He was a successful illustrator during the 1920s and 1930s, a period included in the Golden Age of Illustration.
Such illustrators also include Leonora Goddard and James Arthur, Rudolph F. Ingerle, Jules Erbit, McClelland Barclay, C. Allan Gilbert, C. Warde Traver, Clarence F. Underwood, Hamilton King, Frederick Duncan, Henry Clive, J. Ross Bryson, Zoe Mozert, Frank Desch, Philip Boileau, J. Knowles Hare, Adelaide Hiebel, Zula Kenyon, Bradshaw Crandell, Rolf Armstrong, Earl Christy, Penrhyn Stanlaws, Coles Phillips, Valentine Sandberg, Neysa McMein, Haskell Coffin, and Gene Pressler.
The work of these artists, Eggleston included, was influenced by what would sell to the American public. While boundaries were pushed with some images, such as in areas of nudity and sexuality, publishers sought images that would sell. One aspect of Modernism (of which Art Deco is part) was that artists were resisting a status quo. It meant an artist deciding for himself or herself what standards he would aspire to achieve. By the very nature of illustration, art in which a publisher or editor has a say, the artist’s deciding for himself the standards he will meet is limited.
Eggleston was born in Ashtabula, Ohio. By his late teens, he was living in Columbus, and was counted there in US Census in 1900.
He attended the Columbus Art School. Among his teachers for his “early training” were John N. Piersche (taught drawing at North High School), Alice Schille (studied in Paris, taught drawing, watercolor and composition at Columbus Art School), Albert C. Fauley (studied in Paris, teacher at Columbus Art School), and Harriet L. Dunn (painter active in Columbus, New York, Philadelphia, Boston & Chicago).
About age 22, he entered his art in the Ohio State Fair in Columbus in 1901 and 1902, winning five awards each year. In April 1903, he held an exhibition at the Columbus Pen and Pencil club, showing 30 of his paintings.
He was married in Montgomery, Ohio in 1907 to Ethel Grace Leland. Around 1908, they moved to Rochester, New York, where he was listed as a “designer” in the 1909 and 1910 city directory.
For several years, he worked for others. He listed himself as an artist beginning in the 1910 census and 1911 Rochester city directory. Some of the work was for a commercial engraver in Rochester. Also, he may have worked for a printer from 1915 to 1917 in New York City; there is overlap where his name began to appear in both city directories in 1915. In 1916, Rochester’s directory reported him as having moved to New York City.
By 1918, Eggleston established his own business in Brooklyn, describing himself as a commercial illustrator in his registration for the draft.
Eggleston created artwork for use in magazines. The work can be broadly categorized as illustrations for stories and advertisements.
His work for Chase Velmo upholstery, used for car seats, showed women (and a few men) admiring or luxuriating in the upholstery of the automobile. He created artwork for Willys-Knight, Gardner, Cadillac, Kissel, Studebaker, and Buick, showing the luxury of the car interiors and exteriors.
He created advertisement illustrations for household consumer products, including Dagget and Ramsdell’s Perfect Cold Cream, Frostilla Fragrant Lotion, Fleur de Lis blouses, Munsingwear hosiery, Glenwood stoves, Nufashond Laces, P. N. Practical Front Corsets, Pompeian Beauty Powder, Royal Worcester Corsets, Startex towels, Tetlow’s Pussywillow Talc, True Shape Hosiery, Unfruit Bananas, Vitex Ribbon, and Welsbach Gas Heaters.
In 1916, Eggleston created an iconic painting for the Fisk Tire Company, one of a number of illustrations the company used to show its advertising icon, a boy with a tire. Eggleston’s painting was printed, the print varnished to resemble a painting, and hung in Fisk tire stores. He also created the art for a Great Lakes Exposition advertisement in 1937, used on “millions of posters and booklets.” He also did an Art Deco series of paintings featuring railroad destinations for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
He produced art for calendar makers, including the American Art Works Calendar Company, Artographic (aka F.M. Turner), Beatrice Decker (B. D. Litho Company), Brown and Bigelow, Louis F. Dow, the Knapp company, the Thomas D. Murphy Calendar Company, and F. A. Schneider. His images were also used for jigsaw puzzles, by manufacturer brands including Perfect Picture, Madmar, Mayfair, Tuco, Harter Jiggety Jig, Zig-Zag and Dee Gee.
Biography courtesy of Wikipedia
The Legacy of Norman Platnick
In his New York Times obituary, Norman Platnick’s son Will said that his father had three passions in life, his wife Nancy, spiders, and collecting.
Few individuals have the chance to leave a mark like Norm’s in even one field, let alone two. But Norm managed to be both a celebrated scientist, and one of the most influential lay historians of illustration art.
Under his imprint Enchantment Ink, Norm researched, wrote, and published collectors guides to artists like Rolf Armstrong and Earl Christy. We at Grapefruit Moon Gallery rely on these books in our work, and they are now all freely available as PDFs through the Enchantment Ink website.
Norm’s expertise was a gift, his friendship was a treasure, and his legacy is immeasurable. He is missed.