Global Glamour – Typical Beauties on All Our War Fronts
A fine surviving cover illustration painting by Henry Clive for the August 27, 1944 edition of “The American Weekly”, a Randolph Hearst publication. Clive enjoyed a three decade long association with this title, he often created serialized successive monthly covers of female heroines throughout history. In this World War II era example–published a scant ten weeks after the Normandy invasion–Clive envisions a French woman villager from Normandy posed as gens ordinaires. She is shown in a stoic unadorned pose as part of the “Typical Beauties On All Of Our Fronts” series, which was a patriotic morale boosting effort meant to instill a sense of connection to the many varied nations fighting against the Axis powers in WWII. Painting is nicely framed under glass in a fine gold gallery frame and a published cover of the American Weekly is included in the sale.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Henry Clive
Henry Clive’s colorful life began in 1882 as Henry O’Hara in Australia. He made his way to Hollywood supporting himself as a magician.
After acting in several silent films, Clive turned his attention to painting the stars rather than trying to be one. He made a name for himself illustrating portraits of celebrities from Gloria Swanson to Jackie Coogan for collectible Canco tins, and worked for a time as an art director for Paramount Pictures.
But his true mark came with his magazine cover illustration work. was what ultimately propelled him into being an iconic force of the art deco Jazz Age. His pastels and oils graced the covers of Smart Set, True Confessions, Screen Play, Theatre Magazine and many other titles. After developing a name for himself capturing the spirit of glamorous and captivating beauties he was asked to become a staple cover artist for William Randolph Hearst’s The American Weekly. This Sunday newspaper supplement had a circulation of over 50,000,000 in its heyday and scintillated readers with tales of intrigue and chorus girl gossip. Though the somewhat lurid interior featured to-the-minute gossip and scandals that today seem like the stuff of legend, the art direction of The American Weekly holds up to the test of time and the artists employed to cover and illustrate the publication include some of the greats of the Golden Age of Illustration.
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.