"Ice Follies Souvenir Program Cover"   Lot no. 2813

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By Fritz Willis (1907 - 1979)

1963 (Estimated)
29.50" x 21.50"
Oil on Board
Signed Lower Right



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Original cover art of two women skaters in costume for the Twenty-Seventh Annual Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies souvenir program. Begun in 1937, the Ice Follies merged with Holiday on Ice in 1979. The program lists such numbers as "Pacific Paradise," "Pink Champagne," "It Could Only Happen in Texas," and, surely the show-stopper, "Fantasy in Space".

Explore related art collections: Pin-Ups & Nudes / Advertisements / Fashion / Women as Subjects / $5,000 - $20,000 / 1960s / Newly Researched

See all original artwork by Fritz Willis



Fritz Willis attended the Vesper George Art School and gravitated toward the film industry in California. As a handsome young man, he landed some small roles as an actor, including a part in Alice Adams with Katherine Hepburn. Art was his prime interest, however, and he found work at Warner Brothers Studio in publicity and in making compositional set designs. He worked alongside another ambitious young artist, Joe DeMers, and they began to collaborate, often doing parts of the same drawing. They continued the practice after Esquire asked them to create a series of pin-ups for a new “Esquire Gallery” series to which both signed their names. The pin-ups were a great popular success, but eventually the two went their separate ways.

   Willis went on to illustrate for Collier’s, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post, and for many advertisers, such as Pepsi Cola, Springmaid Cotton Mills, Gilbert Quality Papers, Max Factor, Crown Zellerbach, Rose Marie Reid, and the Ice Follies program covers. He did a fifteen-year series of calendars for Brown & Bigelow, including an “Artist’s Sketchbook” pin-up series. Among his books were instruction titles for Walter Foster publishers, such as Art Shortcuts, Secret to Still-life Painting, and Faces and Features. He also wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Me, Too.