Henry Soulen cover illustration for "Ladies Home Journal" (June 1924); beautifully framed antique
Cover for The Ladies' Home Journal
June 1924 Issue
Image Size: H 14.00” x W 11.00”
Matted & Framed: H 20.00” x W 17.00”
Framed Price: $300.00
Packaging and shipping approximately $25.00
The Curtis Publishing Company of Philadelphia appears to have been HJS’s first paying customer. He continued producing cover images and illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies Home Journal, and Country Gentleman for thirty-five years. During this time, he produced hundreds of illustrations and covers for three of its publications, being
This cover image was produced at the end of his early period, which ran approximately from 1911, when he finished his training in Wilmington, Delaware, until he went on tour in the Holy Lands with Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick in the spring of 1926.
Fosdick was at that time the pastor of the Park Avenue Baptist Church and a close friend of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The Ladies Home Journal may have been interested in his tour of Israel because of his vocal opposition to the Jewish state. During the several months the trip continued, Soulen made sketches of the ancient culture he found in the region. His brilliant coloring made the scenery he recorded exciting to see. The Ladies Home Journal published his illustrations in a series called A Pilgrimage to Palestine in which Fosdick explained the spiritual significance of his trip.
This cover image can be interpreted as a foreshadowing of things to come. The picture is filled with pleasing colors and portrays a romantic moment in a way that captures the imagination. In keeping with the training HJS received in Wilmington, it uses composition to tell its charming story. But after living for a year in the Palestinian desert, HJS all but abandoned these techniques. Dazzled by the color and the culture, he transformed into recorder of scenery, costume, and behavior. To express these complex subjects, he turned to design and flamboyant brushwork.
Rowland Elzea said this of HJS’s mature style: “Soulen’s style was marked by the use of intense color applied in a broken manner akin to Impressionism. While he handled a great variety of subjects, with equal skill, stories set in exotic localities allowed him the greatest latitude in his use of color and were often assigned to him.” In this context, we get the impression gazing at this June 1924 cover illustration that he was ready to go but that he had not yet departed on his greatest artistic adventures.