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 Joe Bowler  (1928 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/South Carolina      Known for: figures

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Ad Code: 3
Joseph Jr. Bowler
from Auction House Records.
Sea Breeze
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Joseph Bowler knew early in his career that he wanted to be an illustrator and accomplished it by making his first sale to Cosmopolitan magazine at the age of nineteen.  He then become one of the top performers, and for may years his romantic illustrations appeared regularly in McCalls, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, The Ladies Home Journal and other publications.

Born in Forest Hills, New York, Bowler studied at the Art Students League under Frank Reilly, Robert Hale, and Howard Trafton.  In 1948, he joined the staff of the Charles E. Cooper Studio, noted for developing talented young illustrators, and from there he launched his illustration career.

Among his other activities, he has made recruiting posters for the Air Force and is represented in the permanent collection of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He also appeared as a guest lecturer at the Parsons School of Design in New York.  In 1958, Bowler was almost completely paralyzed by polio, but through determination and long and intensive physiotherapy was eventually able to resume his career.

In recent years, Bowler has devoted himself almost exclusively to portraiture, working in his studio on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  His sisters have included members of the Eisenhower and Kennedy families and other notables.

His work has won many awards in various annual exhibitions of the New York Art Directors Club and Society of Illustrators, and he was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York.

Walt Reed and Roger Reed, The Illustrator In America 1880-1980: A Century of Illustration

Biography from Morris & Whiteside Galleries:
Joe Bowler began his career as a professional artist at the age of 18.  His mentors at Charles E. Cooper studios included Colby Whitmore, Bernard D'Andrea and Joe DeMers, and his first story illustration was published in Cosmopolitan in 1949.

The great museums of New York afforded the young artist opportunities to see original paintings by the great masters of art history.  Joe was particularly drawn to those who worked in the late nineteenth century.  The draftsmanship, compositions, and color of John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and Anders Zorn became his major influences, and he began to work in oil, "the painter's medium".

It is noteworthy that in 1972, when Joe Bowler left the field of illustration in New York and moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, he effectively retired from the demands of art directors to pursue a passion for portraiture.  It was a natural evolution because much of his work had been magazine cover portraits including Rose Kennedy, Pearl Buck, and Julie and David Eisenhower.  From time to time, Joe would send photographs of completed portraits to his former art directors who in turn, would have writers modify scripts so that the images could be used to illustrate stories or even appear on the cover.

Elected to the Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1992, Joe had been a dominate force in the glamour images of McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Woman's Home Companion and Good Housekeeping as well as on Time covers from 1948 into the 1970s.

He remains, however, modest about his achievements. "All my life," Bowler said recently, "I've been trying to get it right. With each painting the journey becomes more exciting, the destination still a bit out of reach."

Today, the collectors of Bowler's work find it hard to imagine what could be out of reach of his considerable talent.  His portrait schedule is also evidence that many recognize his ability to use color, composition, and, of course, his superb ability to capture likenesses; an ability that has led many clients to commission portraits of their entire families over a period of years.

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