Monday, January 9, 2012

Illustrating the Jazz Era [John Held Jr.]

If ever an artist's work so consummately defined a particular era, it was that of the Roaring Twenties illustrator John Held, Jr. (January 10, 1889 – March 2, 1958), whose creations both set the standard for-and gently ribbed-a generation. More than any other artist of his time, Held expressed in his pictures the bold spirit of the Jazz Age. It was a time of bustling commerce, booming enterprises, and engaging recreation. Society's elite were dining at Sardi's, the adventurous were doing the Charleston and the Shimmy in dance marathons, and the flapper was in full vogue, out and about in pursuit of a good time. Chronicling it all, for magazine readers coast-to-coast, was John Held, Jr. [1]
One of the best known magazine illustrators of the 1920s, Held created cheerful art showing his characters dancing, motoring and engaging in fun-filled activities. The drawings, especially his archetypical flapper illustrations, defined the flapper era so well that many people are familiar with Held's work today. [2]

While his drawings were published in such publications as Life and Judge, it was his work for the fledgling magazine "The New Yorker" that established Held in the eyes of the nation. His depictions of Betty Coed, the prototypical "flapper" (along with her gentleman friend, Joe College), became the quintessential definition of the decade's "flaming youth." [1]

Readers of "Harper's Bazaar," "Redbook," and "Vanity Fair" would be hard-pressed to avoid Held's ubiquitous depictions of the Jazz Age's high-living college crowd. The characters' contemporaries got a real kick out of Held's creations, and parents of the younger generation turned to these illustrations for a clearer understanding of their children.  [1]


Here's a very thorough article about John Held Jr. with many illustrations:
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