From the estate of Mike Wooldridge, our friend sadly departed and deeply missed author, historian and advanced pin-up collector comes this new to the market original pastel illustration by Rolf Armstrong. Pictured is Jewel Flowers, the artist’s favorite model and dear friend for decades. This beautiful pin up portrait dates to the early 1940s, probably before America’s entry into World War II, and Jewel is depicted in a star spangled red, white and blue patriotic scarf as she readies herself to embark in an afternoon of sailing.
During the 1940s, Rolf Armstrong had a summer studio in Marblehead Massachusetts where he was able to combine his love of women, sailing and art while absorbing the beautiful seaside imagery and bright vibrant colors associated with the historic beach town. Both he and Jewel became local celebrities, and he often worked on these breezy portraits of her on the pier, while locals looked on.
This luminous, finished and lovely pastel was commissioned as original calendar pin-up art for the Brown & Bigelow Calendar Company of whom the artist was under exclusive contract with at the time of completion. We believe it might have been unpublished or was never in large circulation and have not come across a printed version of this Patriotic image in our collecting experiences. Included are several vintage black and white snapshot photos of Jewel from this period of her modeling for Armstrong, as well as a snapshot of the finished pastel likely taken by Rolf himself upon completion.
Mike Wooldridge was a lifetime collector and co-author of “Pin Up Dreams” a monograph on Rolf Armstrong that was researched and enthusiastically compiled by Mike over many years. Mike was without question the greatest scholar of Armstrong, the American illustrator and Calendar Pin-up artist. His sudden death in January of 2010 was a tremendous loss to his family, friends, and the collecting community at large. We are honored to have the opportunity to share these examples from Mike’s legendary collection, and to have known Mike as a friend, respected colleague and font of knowledge.