Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 22: John Held, Jr.
I know, I know… you woke up this morning wondering if John Held, Jr., who became famous for his drawings of flappers in and on the cover of the pre-Luce Life ever did advertising work. Well courtesy of Warren Bernard‘s detective work, we have some examples of Mr. Held’s commercial work. My thanks to Mr. Bernard for sharing his findings with Ink Spill.
New Yorker readers who have dipped into the magazine’s cartoon anthologies or looked through ancient issues would certainly have come across Mr. Held’s work — but it wasn’t the style that brought him fame. His New Yorker work looks like this:
Harold Ross, the New Yorker‘s founder and first editor (who met Held in high school when they both worked on the school newspaper,The Red and Black) wanted Held in his new magazine, but he didn’t want Held’s famous flapper style work. According to Thomas Kunkel, in his magnificent biography of Ross, Genius in Disguise:
“Ross and [Rea] Irvin eschewed his [Held’s] overexposed flappers, instead publishing his contemporary twists on the Gay Nineties woodcuts Ross had loved as a boy.”
So what you see here are examples of Held’s non-New Yorker style. The Ovington Gift Shop ad was published during the heart of the Roaring 20s (1926), and the others were published in 1929 — the year that ended so badly.
Here’s John Held, Jr.’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:
John Held, Jr. (Pictured above. Source: Sketchbook of American Humorists, 1938) Born, January 10, 1889, Salt Lake City, Utah. Died, 1958, Belmar, New Jersey. New Yorker work: April 11, 1925 – Sept. 17, 1932.
Mike Lynch and Jane Mattimoe have posted pieces about the wonderful George Booth exhibit at The Society of Illustrators. The exhibit, as you can see in the poster, is up now and will run through the end of this year. Do not miss!