Calendar art by Philip Boileau
By the time Philip Boileau created this pastel on board calendar illustration, he was already one of the most popular “pretty girl” postcard artists working. This example, which was copyrighted under the title Lady In Blue features a blue-eyed Edwardian maiden looking over her shoulder daringly at the viewer, and is oval matted and framed under glass. This is dated 1915 and appeared on numerous advertising calendars for a number of years. Notably, the artwork was used for a 1917 Vacuum Oil/Gargoyle motor lubricant calendar, in which the direct gaze of the beauty underscored the independence of the new woman. A color scan of the Gargoyle campaign calendar is shown here and a second vintage calendar example is included with sale.
Biography of Philip Boileau
Philip Boileau was born in Canada in 1864 to a career diplomat father, serving under Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, and the daughter of the noted United States Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton. Traveling for most of his early life, the Boileau family moved to England in 1871, where Philip was educated. At the age of 23, he moved to Italy to study art and married a Russian singer, who unfortunately passed a short time later.
In 1897, Philip Boileau emigrated to Baltimore, MD, and found success in painting formal portraits of the city’s high society. In 1900 he moved to Philadelphia, where he met his greatest inspiration, Emily Gilbert. During this time his artworks found greater recognition and were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Two years later he moved to New York, the center of the expanding art market, and in 1903 he created his first commercially successful illustration, “Peggy,” a head-and-shoulders portrait Emily Gilbert. These beautiful portraits of Emily became his first commercial success, and in 1907, the two married amid Boileau’s flourishing career. In 1915, he placed second in Pictorial Review Magazine’s “Artist of the Year” contest.
In 1917, just fourteen years after painting “Peggy”, Boileau contracted pneumonia and died at his home on Long Island, Douglas Manor at just 53. Had he lived longer his total artistic output would have been significantly larger and he would most likely have become as famous as Charles Dana Gibson or Harrison Fisher.
Biography courtesy of the National Museum of American 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.