J. Knowles Hare original advertising pastel for Sunshine Biscuits
This large and enchanting pastel was created by the American illustrator J. Knowles Hare as advertising calendar art for Sunshine Biscuits. This New York bakery marketed calendar girl calendars in the early 1900s under the name “The Sunshine Girl”. This example was titled “Spring”, an original 1918 advertising calendar featuring the image is included in the sale. This sort of branded calendar was an advertising innovation in the late 19th/early 20th century which let grocers and general stores who carried Sunshine products subsidize advertising their own local stores by showing their details alongside the Sunshine branding. This large pastel is housed in the original wide profile wood frame under glass.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: J. Knowles Hare
Known for his drypoint etching portraits and his magazine cover illustrations, J. Knowles Hare was born in Montclair, New Jersey. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York. In the early 1900s he had many magazine covers, and he also did drypoint etchings, one of the more famous being “Sympathy.”
He was a frequent contributor of saccharine portraits of 1920s-type young women for the covers of “The Saturday Evening Post” and “The Country Gentleman” magazines.
There is some confusion as to whether he went by the name John or Joseph, with his family and scholars like Norm Platnick determining he used Joseph, but archives of employers such at “The Saturday Evening Post” recording his name as John.
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.