Flower of the South

Artist:Rolf Armstrong
Medium:Pastel on illustration board
Dimensions:Sight Size 28" x 37" Framed 35 1/2" x 45"
Original Use:Calendar Art for The Thos. D. Murphy Calendar Company / Cover for College Humor Magazine, March 1936
Price: S O L D
Above: Full view
Above: The artist's signature lower right
Above: Framed and matted behind glass in handsome antique gold carved frame

A large and beautiful original pastel by Rolf Armstrong that first appeared as a pin up calendar for The Thos. D. Murphy Calendar Company under the title "Orchids To You." Armstrong only created eight artworks for the Iowa based company, and as he was already America's premiere glamour illustrator when he began working with them, he was permitted to retain ownership of his original pastels. He often reworked these slightly for use as covers for College Humor magazine, during the tail end of his ten year association with the periodical. Staying just outside copyright infringement by removing the orchids from the model's left hand, and placing a "New York" and "C" for copyright under his distinctive signature, this altered version appeared on the cover of College Humor in March of 1936, the last time an Armstrong girl would grace this title.

Above: The pastel as it appeared March, 1936 as the cover of College Humor
Above: Images of College Humor covers by the artist

In the mid 1930's Armstrong grew tired of the calendar industry and the tight deadlines and headed to Hollywood to start a short lived print and photograph art service titled "Armstrong Art Services" where his hope was to offer print and photograph images of his pastel works directly to mail order clients. This pastel as reworked by Armstrong appears in a rare brochure advertising this misadventure under the title "Flower of the South" as seen below that we will include in the sale. This venture was a misstep commercially but this era and these pastels captured "The Armstrong Girl" at her absolute apex.

Above: Flower of the South pastel pictured in Art Service brochure
Above: Image as it appears in Art Service circular
Above: Verso text in Armstrong Art Services brochure
Above: Cover of Armstrong Art Services brochure

From the son of a small town tugboat captain to the Father of American Pin-Up Art, Rolf Armstrong led a full life and had a long and prolific career.

Armstrong started his education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where his teachers increasingly recognized his work. The institute was a stepping-stone to Armstrong's successful career in commercial art.

Above: Detail
Above: Verso New York City address in artist's hand
Above: The Original Calendar print Orchids To You by the Thos. D. Murphy Calendar Company


Contact Grapefruit Moon Gallery