This cheeky and colorful original gouache cover illustration painting by the well listed Wisconsin artist Lester Bentley graced the cover of Rogue For Men Magazine, August 1956. Both Lloyd Rognan and Lester Bentley were encouraged as cover artists for Rogue to have fun with their mascot–a caddish, happy go lucky, wolf of distinction. This cover features the Rogue Wolf seaside preparing a beverage in a streamlined art deco cocktail shaker for his bathing beauty companion; bottoms up indeed! Nicely framed and matted behind glass and ready to hang.
The complete August 1956 edition of Rogue For Men is included in the sale and offers interesting insight into this halcyon postwar era of prosperity. Cover illustrates the interior feature titled “Bottoms Up” Abroad!”, – “Drink your way around the world. Here’s a quickie guide for getting swacked cheap!!”. The pulp artist H.W. McCauley’s work can be found with interior illustrations of his stylized McCauley girl pin up in the story “The Major’s Sexcessful Spy Ring.” The tagline to this “true-to-life” tale reads “The Reds sent a male nymphomaniac to steal Sweden’s atomic secrets…” Additionally the always radiant and plucky Bettie Page is featured in a four page photo montage spread. And Frank Sinatra is crowned “The Rogue of Distinction” for his paradoxical allure: “Frankie is a paradox-a dead end kid from Hoboken in Lord Fauntleroy clothes. But he’s all man and don’t forget it!”
Rogue magazine was a direct competitor with Playboy Magazine, their version of the not to be self actualized any time soon “Man of Distinction” was certainly cut from a lesser cloth, which is what makes this cover illustration so alluring as a pop culture time capsule. The painting is unsigned but the title page of the magazine credits Lester Bentley as the artist, who along with Lloyd Rognan created the majority (if not all) of Rogues painted cover illustrations.
Lester Bentley (1908-1972):
Born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Lester Bentley’s work is largely found in Wisconsin although his paintings were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1942, 1945, 1952) and at the Corcoran Gallery (1939, 1941). He taught art in 1933 and 1934 at Two Rivers Vocational School. While best known for his portraits and murals created in government buildings for the WPA during the 1930’s, Bentley was also an accomplished lithographer. He was commissioned to paint a portrait of President Eisenhower in academic gown for Columbia University. Bentley received his art training at the Art Institute of Chicago, having studied with Carl Buehr, Louis Ritman, Boris Anisfeld, Chapin and Valentine Vedauretta.