Henry James Soulen
A day before heading up to fall trout camp I checked local estate sales online and found a photo of the above artwork. The author’s name was listed so I checked online for his bio and found he is a noted magazine illustrator from the early 20th century. I went to see the artwork and they were asking in the range of two thousand, more than I could feel comfortable spending. I made a low offer on day two of the sale and managed a good deal. The title is “Girl with Victrola.” I am sure at auction the artwork would sell for substantially more for several reasons. It is a slice of Americana, the subject girl is beautiful, and there is great interest in American illustrators.
H. J. Soulen update:
I contacted the estate of H. J. Soulen hoping to find where my illustration was published and while they could not provide that information they did send me a photo of another illustration they have that is very similar – including the same girl. The archivist, Leslie, suggested that the illustrations may have been used in the Saturday Evening Post somewhere between 1910 and 1920 based on the clothes, Victrola record player, and typewriter. I found and searched an online Post archive without luck but will hopefully find other possible sources of publishing because I would very much like to read the story Henry Soulen illustrated.
I am especially fascinated by the artwork because I spent most of my life as a technical illustrator drawing machines …wondering if I could beak out of that into more interesting work like this. When I see the skill needed to compose such a magnificent piece as this, I am humbled.