Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Gloria Stoll Karn: Pulp Romance

From the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Gloria Stoll Karn, "Girl with mittens", 1945. Watercolor on board. Private Collection

It was a culture shock for a city girl to be transplanted from pulse of the Big Apple to a house surrounded by woods in in Pittsburgh, PA. But Gloria Stoll’s marriage to Fred Karn did just that, whisking her away from New York City and a blossoming art career in 1948.

Near1y 70 years later, Gloria remains among just a handful of female artists still recognized for her contributions to the pulp fiction industry, creating illustrations and covers for popular romance and dime store magazines throughout the 1940s.

Soon after graduating from the High School of Music and Art in 1941, Gloria began doing interior illustrations for Poplar Publications at the age of 17.

It was a chance meeting with Rafael de Soto who subsequently convinced the art director, Alex Portegal, to give young Gloria a shot at story illustration. It was for Love Book

Commenting, "I've seen worse", Portegal allowed Gloria to begin doing covers along with interior illustrations the following year. 

Most of her covers were for Rangeland Romances, edited by Harry Widmer, but she also worked with editors Peggy Graves and Al Norton on covers for Black Mask, Dime Mystery, Detective Tales, New Detective, All-Story Love, New Love, Love Book, Love Short Stories, Love Novels, Romance, and Thrilling Love, as well as interior illustrations for Argosy edited by Bernie White.

Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover illustration for Detective Tales, July 1945

As a free-lance artist Gloria was able to finance her education at New York’s Art Students League. Classes in anatomy, print making, and watercolor strengthened her commercial work while introducing lithography, etching, and watercolor.

Gloria continued to draw from that experience throughout her life, practicing art at her own leisure and eventually teaching art classes and exhibiting an evolving body of work.

Among her most cherished honors is a one-artist show at the Carnegie Museum of Art and a listing in Who’s Who in American Art.

Her work can be found in the permanent collections of Yale University, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Westinghouse Corporation, Speed Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and many private collections.

Gloria Stoll Karn: Pulp Romance
February 10 to June 10, 2018
Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Rd / Rte 183
Stockbridge , MA 01262
(413) 298-4100

No comments:

Post a Comment