Friday, 22 October 2021

John Held Jr- part 6

John Held, Jr. (1889-1958) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, was a cartoonist whose work epitomised the “jazz age” of the 1920s in the United States. At the age of 16 he was drawing sports and political cartoons for the Salt Lake Tribune, and at 19 he sold his first cartoon to a national magazine. Shortly afterward he moved to New York City, where he worked in the art department of a newspaper.

After service in the U.S. Navy during World War I, Held returned to New York City, where he gained fame and wealth for his drawings in the popular humour magazines Life, Judge, and College Humour. These drawings conveyed a spirit of the era comparable to that in the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In particular, Held created such immortal characters as the short-skirted, short-haired “flapper,” who rolled her stockings and used a long cigarette holder, and her escort, who wore a raccoon coat, had patent-leather hair parted in the middle, smoked a pipe, and carried a hip flask. Held’s ability to point up the foibles of the time without sentimentality or bitterness made his cartoons notable. Also during the 1920s, he drew two comic strips: “Merely Margie, an Awfully Sweet Girl” and “Rah, Rah, Rosalie,” both of which ended with the Depression.

During the 1930s Held wrote novels and short stories and did sculpture and woodcuts. His woodcuts, often evoking the “Gay Nineties,” appeared in The New Yorker magazine. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and was stationed in Belmar, N.J., where he made his home after the war. Held’s Angels (1952), illustrated by Held, with text by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr., was a word and picture evocation of the 1920s.

For more information on John Held Jr. see part 1, and for earlier works see parts 1 - 5 also. 

This is part 6 of a 6-part series on the works of John Held Jr:

Hot Rhythm
pen and ink and gouache on board 26 x 36.2 cm

"I believe in myself. I’ve just lost faith in the world around me.”
pen and ink on board 24.5 x 34 cm

"It's all right, Santa - you can come in. My parents still believe in you"

Jazz Scene

Life Guard

Life magazine "Clean Number"
 watercolour and ink on board 41.3 x 33.6 cm

Life magazine
"Silly Geese"

Life magazine
"The Fellow Who Thought He'd Try His First Dive When No One Was Looking"



McClures August issue
ink and gouache on board 41.9 x 32.4 cm

Merry Christmas Happy New Year


The New Haven R.R.

Outside by Frank Flyn
sheet music cover


Poor Parlor

She Left Home under a Cloud

Ship Bonetta Salem Departing from Leghorn
colour linocut 34.9 x 50.8 cm

Soldering the Bustle  & The Open Placket
wood engravings

South Bound

Speaking of Vacations "Why is that -"

Terra Cotta pitcher
29.8 cm high

Thanks For the Buggy Ride!
ink on board 24.8 x 35.6 cm


The Clown With A Broken Heart
wood engraving

The Days Beyond Recall Piercing The Ears
wood engraving

The Fatal Card
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

The Fate Of The Cigarette Fiend
wood  engraving

The Fox Hunt, a Sport for Gentlemen
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC 

( The Girl Said No )

The Long And The Short Of It

The Miser's Death
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

The New York I Know by Karl K. Kitchen
gouache on board 25.4 x 37.5 cm

The Tennis Player
book illustration
pen on board

The Wife-Beaters Grave
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

They are the Aristocrats...
ink on illustration board 17.8 x 30.5 cm

"They Want To Fix Your Tie"

To Lee from John Held
pen and ink on paper 25.4 x 36.8 cm

Untitled (Boys smoking)
pencil, ink and gouache 20.9 x 24.2 cm


Untitled (Two couples)
pencil, ink and gouache 24.2 x 35.6 cm

Untitled (Ford T Model Car)
pencil, ink and gouache 24.2 x 35.6 cm

Untitled (Couple on a Couch)
pencil, ink and gouache 24.2 x 35.6 cm

"Waiting for the Kick-off"

We Can Be Young Only Once
Cosmopolitan magazine

With Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas

1986 Smithsonian magazine
September issue on John Held Jr

2001 First Day Postage Cover
"Life Cover 1926"

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