An early original Cream of Wheat advertising illustration depicting a young boy evaluating an overweight cop. This original watercolor-on-illustration board was published as a 1916 advertisement and appeared in hundreds of American mainstream magazines. Created by the artist and illustrator James Leslie Wallace, the humorous piece is a fine example of original Americana illustration art from the storied iconic Cream of Wheat archive. Includes full page tear sheet with published artwork; work is professionally matted and framed in a handsome expensive gallery frame.
Wallace painted several commissioned watercolors for Cream of Wheat between 1910 – 1916. On this work the quip reads in full “My muvver told me Cream of Wheat would make me big and fat- Now, how much will I have to eat to grow as big as that.”
None of the original paintings commissioned for Cream of Wheat advertising have ever been available for sale. Each original piece of artwork used in Cream of Wheat advertising was carefully stored and archived at the Cream of Wheat headquarters in northeast Minneapolis. The unusual care taken to protect this thorough, well-maintained archive is testament to the foresight of Emery Mapes, who presided over the Cream of Wheat advertising campaign. Most advertising illustration in the early 20th century was considered expendable, and was quickly destroyed, lost or thrown away. Mapes insisted upon treating the art as art, and employed the finest talents working as illustrators to help developed Cream of Wheat’s folksy nostalgic iconography. Counted among the artists Mapes recruited are N.C. Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, Phillip Goodwin, J.C. Leyendecker, James Montgomery Flagg and Edward V. Brewer. With the help of this stable of talent, the Cream of Wheat advertising campaign came to define some of the most enduring visions of American hearth and home.