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Classic Covers: A Dog Is a Girl’s Best Friend

We’ve seen many Post covers with a man and his beloved hunting dog, or a boy and his furry best buddy. And from Wolfhounds to tiny laptops, Saturday Evening Post artists showed us how a dog, not diamonds, is a girl’s best friend.

Woman and Wolfhound by W.H. Coffin

Woman with Wolfhound by W.H. Coffin

Woman with Wolfhound
W.H. Coffin
October 17, 1925

This is no lap dog. The wolfhound and pretty lady were painted by artist W.H. Coffin. Born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1878, Coffin did over thirty Post covers between 1913 and 1931, each one of an attractive woman. His portraits were sometimes stark, but as he progressed he added props for contrast and interest: a spray of flowers, a feathered fan, a dog big enough to rip your throat out…okay, just kidding about the last part. He’s a beautiful animal.

Lady with Riding Crop and Dog by Harrison Fisher

Lady with Riding Crop and Dog by Harrison Fisher

Lady with Riding Crop and Dog
Harrison Fisher
August 28, 1909

Clearly, in the early twentieth century, charming ladies were a popular cover subject for Saturday Evening Post artists. Harrison Fisher did an amazing eighty-eight covers, frequently of ladies in fabulous hats. This one is from 1909. I can’t decide: is the hat or the dog cuter?

Tipping the Scales by Joseph Farrelly

Tipping the Scales by Joseph Farrelly

Tipping the Scales
Joseph Farrelly
October 13, 1923

Okay, so a dog isn’t always a woman’s best friend! Next time, she’ll learn to get a smaller dog. This cute cover from 1923 is the only one we have by this artist, but at least one Post staffer thinks it would make a great framed print for the bathroom. One needs humor by the bathroom scales.

Woman Resting After the Shoot by Edward Penfield

Woman Resting After the Shoot by Edward Penfield

Woman Resting After the Shoot
Edward Penfield
The Country Gentleman
December 15, 1917

Where there was a hunting cover, and there were many, there was a dog. And sometimes the hunter was female. This lovely autumn cover from a 1917 Country Gentleman magazine (a sister publication) was by artist Edward Penfield. His Country Gent and Post covers at the turn of the century were of varied subjects: horses and horseless carriages, Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland…and the occasional pretty lady.

Girl Scout by J.C. Leyendecker

Girl Scout by J.C. Leyendecker

Girl Scout
J.C. Leyendecker
October 25, 1924

The girl scouts started out in 1912 with eighteen members in Savannah, Georgia and today boasts over three million members. It was enough of an entity by 1924 to capture the attention of renowned Post cover artist J.C. Leyendecker. This young lady is practicing her first aid skills and her furry friend is being, well, a good scout.

Woman and Small Dog by Clarence Underwood

Woman and Small Dog by Clarence Underwood

Woman and Small Dog
Clarence Underwood
February 14, 1920

Clarence Underwood illustrated Post covers between 1903 and 1926 – over forty in all. This one is a lovely study in black and white, with a small red feather for contrast. And yes, you can get reprints of thousands of beautiful, humorous and interesting Post (and Country Gentleman) covers at www.curtispublishing.com. If you’re looking for a particular cover or want to see a certain cover subject in a future Featured Artists column, contact me at: d.denny@saturdayeveningpost.com.

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