Charles Gates Sheldon

1889-1961 | Browse Artwork

Charles Sheldon: A Prolific and Gifted Early 20th Century Illustrator

Charles Sheldon was a prolific and gifted early 20th century illustrator who specialized in glamorous portraiture that graced the covers of early movie magazines and advertising in the art nouveau and art deco styles. After studying at the Art Students League, he went to Paris to study under the legendary Alphonse Mucha. Upon his return to America, Sheldon set up a studio at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Above: Models posed in Sheldon's Carnegie Hall studio, showing Mucha's stylistic influence

Charles Sheldon: How To Get Ahead in Advertising

In 1918 Sheldon received his first pin-up commission, a series of ads for La Vogue lingerie. He soon began working on advertising campaigns for Fox Footery as well as creating covers for Collier's Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post and Photoplay.

Above: Gelatin silver photograph by Sheldon showing a flapper girl model on Indian Motorcycle for Fox Footery


Above: A model for Fox Footery as posed and photographed by Charles Sheldon

By 1921 he was contributing high fashion portraits to Woman's Home Companion and Theater magazine. Famous women all over the world arranged to sit for portraits in his studio in Carnegie Hall in New York.

Charles Sheldon: Illustrations for Hollywood

The pastels he created for Photoplay from 1925 to 1930 included glamorous depictions of Clara Bow, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Gilda Gray, Mary Pickford, and numerous other Hollywood enchantresses. Unlike many movie magazine illustrators, who primarily worked off of publicity photos, many of these stars sat for Sheldon personally. Along with his work for Photoplay, the artist worked for Screenland, Movie Classic and Radio Digest magazines.

Above: Pastel Portrait of Jean Harlow


Above: Gilda Gray as photographed by the artist


Above: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks posed and photographed by Charles Sheldon


Above: Evelyn Brent in Photoplay cover by Charles Sheldon


Above: Another example of the artists cover work for Photoplay

Acquiring Charles Sheldon's Estate

To create his unique pastels, Sheldon often photographed his models in the studio, and Grapefruit Moon Gallery came into an estate collection of these original photographs, which we have been offering exclusively via our eBay store.

Above: A posed photograph by Charles Sheldon


Above: Charles Gates Sheldon in early photo

Charles Sheldon and the Breck Girl

In 1936, Breck Shampoo hired Sheldon to develop a national ad campaign and this partnership birthed the Breck Girl, one of the iconic advertising characters of the mid-20th century. Sheldon is known to have created 109 Breck Girl pieces before his retirement in the late 1950s.

Above: A humorous Depression-Era Christmas card hand painted by the artist's wife Grace Sheldon depicting the couple at home

Charles Sheldon died in 1961 at his home.

Above: 1930 calendar illustration for Brown & Bigelow titled " The Glorified American Girl "

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