“Practice Proposal” by Frederic Stanley
from April 30, 1927
It all begins here. Artist Frederic Stanley (1892-1967) was great with facial expressions. Nice detail on the floral chair upon which sits a photo of his beloved and the ring at the ready. Like Rockwell, Frederic Stanley used locals for his models: Vermont clerks, housewives, schoolchildren. Between 1921 and 1935, Stanley illustrated 17 Post covers. The “Practice Proposal” is from 1927.
“Icing the Wedding Cake” by Stevan Dohanos
"Icing the Wedding Cake"
from June 16, 1945
If you’re studied the art of Stevan Dohanos, you know he was all about realism. For this 1945 cover, he enlisted the help of a baker in Westport, Connecticut, one Mr. Gus Volkening. The star baker produced this ornate delicacy for our artist to paint. What does an artist do with such a prop once the painting is complete? Well, normally, he would just eat it, but this was just too lavish. So Dohanos called the marriage license bureau and found that a certain Private Stall was due to wed his sweetheart, Lucia, so the happy couple was even happier to receive a wedding cake so beautiful it appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
“Wedding March” by Norman Rockwell
One of Norman Rockwell’s most ubiquitous models, James K. Van Brundt makes a charming organist in this 1928 cover. “The day he showed up at my studio,” said the artist, “was one of the luckiest days of my life. ’James K. Van Brunt, sir,’ he said saluting me and bowing all at once. ‘Five feet two inches tall, sir. The exact height of Napoleon Bonaparte.’” Rockwell adored that mustache. “Eight full inches wide from tip to tip,” the little man boasted. “The ladies, Sir, Make much of it.” Rockwell painted him as a hobo, a colonial sign painter, a sentimental cowboy listening to old records and even as gossiping old maids.
“Patient Groom” by E.M. Jackson
from April 21, 1928
It’s nice to see the emphasis on the handsome groom in this 1928 cover by E.M. Jackson. Jackson’s nearly 50 Saturday Evening Post covers showed influences from prominent artists of the time. Some of his work was very much like that of Norman Rockwell, and several of his covers, like our groom here, resembled the lavish and elegant detail of J.C. Leyendecker.
“There Goes the Bride” by Alan Foster
Of the dozens of covers depicting weddings, this has to be the most unusual. The focus is on the delighted faces of the guests. The bride, except for a bit of her train, is left to the imagination of the viewer, but from the expressions of the observers here, she must be beautiful indeed. And what of the groom? We see only a shoe with spat, and a bit of striped pants leg.
The artist, Alan Foster, did over 30 light-hearted Post covers, several of which we will see in an upcoming feature, “The Fun Covers of Alan Foster.”
“Wedding Reception” by Ben Kimberly Prins
One can only imagine the work that went into an illustration like this by Holland-born artist Ben Prins (1902-1980). The locale was a Vermont country club, and the guests were “borrowed” from a local wedding. All were happy to cooperate with the artist, and by the time this cover appeared on newsstands, the bride and groom were back to real life; he working in a bank and she as an assistant librarian.
Alas, this is one of the last covers painted by our wonderful stable of illustrators, as photographs of everyone from models to world leaders took over in the 60s.