Valentine’s Day is a popular time to get engaged, so we thought we’d share some of our loveliest engagement covers, from early-1900s Edwardian beauties to the 1960s woman who knows just what she wants.
This artist’s “Fisher Girl” was as well known at the time as Charles Dana Gibson’s “Gibson Girl.” The rosy cheeks and softly styled hair were hallmarks of his style, and this 1910 cover bears all the characteristic of a typical Fisher cover. His art appeared frequently in The Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan, which called him “The World’s Greatest Artist.” He clearly had a preference for painting women, as the bridegroom is nowhere to be seen.
Artist John LaGatta used depictions of glamorous, elegant women in a romanticized world of “old Hollywood” to provide an escape from the realities of the Great Depression. Coming to America from Italy with nothing, LaGatta eventually become one of the most sought after illustrators in the country, earning as much as $100,000 a year throughout the 1930s and 40s. This illustration is typical of his oil-over-charcoal technique.
When an artist in Arlington, Vermont, needs models, he can always call on neighbors—it must have been a rare citizen of that New England town whose face hadn’t appeared in at least one cover or illustration. So George Hughes drafted artist Mead Schaeffer‘s daughters Patty and Lee. Lee is the one with the engagement ring; you might remember her from this crazy story. Then he asked neighbor Paul Benjamin to pose as the gent who didn’t share the ladies’ excitement about matrimony. “The picture is out of character,” said Hughes. “Benjamin actually is a very amiable guy.” The only real problem was the bus. Arlington wasn’t big enough to need city bus service, and Hughes had to wait until a bus operator who hauls workers to a nearby factory had a bus in the garage for repairs.
This cover features an emerald necklace (in the background, middle shelf) that was in the Post twice. It first appeared in May of 1948, in an photo for an article about Jules Glaenzer of Cartier and Company. When artist Alajalov, a friend of Glaenzer, wanted to look at a jewelry store without buying jewels, he just popped in at Cartier. “Want to put this in the picture?” Glaenzer asked, producing the necklace featuring a 107-carat emerald. “As an academic question, how much is it?” Alajalov asked, his eyes watering. “A million dollars,” was the reply. “Let’s just see the price tag.” the painter gasped. Glaenzer replied, “We never tag anything over a hundred thousand dollars.” (No word on how much that engagement ring cost.)
Constantin Alajalov must have been in a loving mood, because here we have yet another engagement ring cover from him. The young couple may only have eyes for each other, but the proprieter would rather have his eyes on his TV set at home.
Artist Kurt Ard is an expert at painting charming scenes of everyday life: a boy waiting nervously in the dentist’s chair, a couple (one luxuriating, the other suffering) in the sun, a group of ladies—and one tired boy—at the hair salon. Ard clearly shares Norman Rockwell’s sense of mischief and warmth that make his illustrations universally appealing.
This cover by George Hughes brings to mind the slogan of a Baltimore, Maryland, jewelry store: “Marriages are made in heaven, but engagements are made at S. and N. Katz.” Love may be forever, but the price has sure gone up over the years.