"A Ray of Sunshine, Good Housekeeping Magazine Cover"   Lot no. 2721

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By Jessie Willcox Smith (American- 1863-1935)

1918 (Estimated)
16.25" Round, Framed 26.00" x 26.00"
Charcoal, Watercolor, Gouache and Oil on Board
Signed Lower Left

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Good Housekeeping Magazine Cover, May 1918


"A Ray of Sunshine". Charcoal, watercolor/gouache and oil on board, tondo format, ca. 1918, signed along the lower left, framed under glass in a spandrel and wood frame painted with bronze tone paint overall 24 x 24 in.; partial paper label with artist's hand written name, title, price and date attached to the back. Accompanied by a photocopy of a loan agreement for exhibition "The Studios at Cogslea", February 20-March 28, 1976, The Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington. Also an original cover from "Good Housekeeping", May 1918, for which this illustration was used. Included original photo of an artist from family archive and photocopies of articles dedicated to her works.


Jessie Willcox Smith was a genuine superstar among female illustrators in the United States during the Golden Age of American illustration. Besides her many successes as an illustrator, she worked for "Good Housekeeping" magazine, designing covers between 1917 and 1932. The Hall of Fame of the Society of Illustrators has inducted only 10 women since its inception in 1958. Smith was the second of these, in 1991, after Lorraine Fox. Of the ten, three of them were members of The Red Rose Girls, Jessie Smith herself, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. The women's homes were arguably the finest assembly of illustrative talent ever seen in American life.

Also illustrated on the cover of 'The Baby's Own Booklet, Clothes, Patterns, and Nusery Fittings' by The Good Housekeeping Fashion Department, 1929

Explore related art collections: Magazine Covers / Women Artists / Children / Family / Advertisements / 1910s / Fashion / $100,000 & Above / Brandywine School

See all original artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith


            Jessie Wilcox Smith never married, but throughout her long career, specialized in drawing and painting mothers, babies and children. Her training was acquired at the School of Design for Women, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and at the Drexel Institute under Howard Pyle.

            She had begun as a kindergarten teacher but turned to an art career with the stimulus and assistance of Howard Pyle. Some of her best-known illustrations were for books: Little Women, Heidi, A book of Old Stories and Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. She also painted a great many illustrations for magazines such as Collier's and McClure's, and did nearly 200 covers for Good Housekeeping. For several years, she shared house and studio with two other Pyle students, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. Working in close proximity they also strongly influenced eachother's work as well as that of several other Pyle - school women. This relationship is told in The Red Rose Girls by Alice Carter. Smith painted and exhibited widely, revieving many awards, a Silver Metal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. She was also commissioned to paint many portraits of children.

            Two other biographies, Jessie Wilcox Smith by S. Michael Schnessel, and Jessie Wilcox Smith American Illustrator by Edward D. Nudelman (who also contributed A bibliography) have been published.