This very rare illustration is possibly the only surviving pin up girl, non-menace themed spicy pulp cover painting ever offered for sale by H.J. Ward. This was created for the spicy pulp title “Tattle Tales” and was published as either the March 1937 or June 1937 edition. Hugh J. Ward was a prolific pulp cover artist who has enjoyed much recent acclaim. At a recent 2010 auction, one of Ward’s damsel in distress cover paintings (August 1936 Spicy Mystery Stories) fetched $143,400.
Hugh J. Ward is primarily known for the “Spicy” cover art he did for pulp magazines. His paintings for these covers almost always portrayed a beautiful woman (often modeled by his lovely wife Viola) fleeing for her life from a thug or some fiendish monster or another, sometimes in little more than her under garments!
Ward was born Hugh Joseph Ward (commonly referred to as H. J. Ward) on March 8, 1909 in South Philadelphia, the youngest of eight children. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art. In the early 1930s he started a career doing cover art for pulp magazines most notably “the Spicy Pulps.” These magazines covers depicted the usual genres of Detective, Horror, Mystery, Science-Fiction, Western, etc.
The original paintings that were done for these covers are primarily in oil on stretched canvas usually 24″ x 30.” Ward’s prolific life was cut short, on February 7,1945 he was to pass away at the young age of thirty-six leaving behind a young family to bare the loss.