From the estate of legendary jazz-age Ziegfeld Follies photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston comes this sensational pastel by noted American illustrator Penrhyn Stanlaws. Inscribed “To Cheney from Penrhyn Stanlaws.” This is a fabulous offering, created in the then popular “Fadeaway Girl” style invented by Coles Phillips, and features a stylish 1920s flapper girl in a cloche hat admiring her abundant beauty in a compact mirror. This was created as the cover for the October 4, 1924 issue of Collier’s magazine, and later inscribed and gifted to Johnston.
Retains hand painted enameled oak frame that was created at the time of completion, possibly by the artist himself, to match the pastel. Illustration is properly lined–the back had never been opened–we broke the verso seal to clean the inside glass, and rebacked the frame. Pastel is in pristine flawless condition and is a luminous desirable example of the artist’s portraiture.
Penrhyn Stanlaws was born March 19, 1877 in Dundee Scotland as Stanley Adamson. He was the younger brother of another illustrator, Sydney Adamson, so he would change his name to avoid confusion. Stanlaws’ art could be found on many of the leading magazine covers throughout the 1910s and 20s, including The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Collier’s, LIFE, Judge, The Metropolitan Magazine, and Hearst’s International.
His “Stanlaws Girl” rivaled the “Gibson Girl” and was modeled on silent star Anna Q. Nilsson. In 1915, tragic early star Olive Thomas was another of Stanlaws’ subjects in the famed nude “Between Poses.” Other early stars who posed for him included Mabel Normand and Florence LaBadie. Stanlaws would actually move to California to direct a few films in the early 1920s.
Prior to that though, while still in New York, Stanlaws would organize a syndicate to build the Hotel des Artistes where it still stands on 1 West 67th Street. Built as a co-op, but with rental units as well, Stanlaws claimed “that the 10-floor, $1.2 million structure was the largest studio building in the world.” The Hotel des Artistes was completed in 1917, Stanlaws planned other projects including a never completed resort in Port Washington on Long Island.
Off to Hollywood soon thereafter Penrhyn Stanlaws served as a director of seven films: “The House that Jazz Built” (1921) starring Wanda Hawley, four Betty Compson vehicles: “At the End of the World” and “The Little Minister” (both also 1921), and “The Law and the Woman” and “Over the Border” (both 1922), plus two Bebe Daniels films, “Singed Wings” and “Pink Gods” (both 1922), the latter of which also featured the “Stanlaws Girl,” Anna Q. Nilsson.
Penrhyn Stanlaws died in Los Angeles, May 20, 1957 in a fire said to have started when he fell asleep in a chair while smoking.