New Idea Cover Girl
This is a large, well conceived, and beautifully detailed watercolor on artist's paper by illustrator Z.P. Nikolaki. It appeared as the cover for the April 1910 issue of New Idea Woman's Magazine. In this portrait a pretty, young Edwardian maiden in a wide brimmed garden hat prepares for her daily stroll with a bright parasol adorned with a parrot shaped handle.
The painting is not signed, but it comes with a published issue of the magazine which lists Z.P. Nikolaki as the cover artist on the table of contents page. Painting is guaranteed to be by this artist and the original cover painting for this magazine.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Z.P. Nikolaki
Portrait painter Count Nicholas Panoyotti Zarokilli Nikolaki was a Greek artist born in Turkey in 1879. A European painter, he was active in New York from about 1912 to 1920, providing illustrations for such publications as Modern Priscilla; Woman's Home Companion; Saturday Evening Post; The Green Book; and McCall's. Most often those images were of strikingly lovely young women. In 1915, New York publishing firm Reinthal and Newman released a series of postcards with his signed drawings of such women. He must have been well recognized as an artist, since, from 1915-1917, two advertisements (one for Woodbury Soap, the other for Pompeian Massage Cream) invited readers to send in a dime to get their own reproduction of one of his paintings. Among his illustrated books were: An Imperial Marriage; Sylvia's Experiment; A Reconstructed Marriage; The Top of the Morning; The Lovers of Skye; Are You My Wife?; and The Growing Up of Anne Carter.
He also designed WWI posters, the most famous of which was one released in 1916 depicting a shapely young woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty and holding a candlestick-type phone. Its caption read: "Hello! This is Liberty Speaking". Billions of dollars were needed for the War effort, and posters such as this one encouraged viewers to give to the cause.
He was perhaps best known for his dry-point portraits. He painted such luminaries as the Queen of Spain, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Grand Duchess Anastasia, the King of Portugal, and Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim. In January 1920, Henry Reinhardt and Sons held a solo exhibit of his portraits. He painted travel scenes, as well, depicting European cities such as Venice, Madrid, and Seville. His talents also enabled him to write articles for travel magazines, including one done for MoToR magazine in April 1914, "A Motor Road in the Caucasus".
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.