"Pre-Code Cover Portrait of Verna Hillie"   Lot no. 3523

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By Cardwell Higgins (1902-1983)

Sight Size 20.00" x 28.50;" Framed 32.50" x 41.25"
Pastel on Illustration Board
Signed Lower Right



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Cover Art for Unidentified Title

 Pre-code Hollywood starlet Verna Hillie is the subject of this erotically charged pastel portrait, which was likely used as a cover for the title Reel Movie Fun, a short lived wild and racy publication that merged the world of pin-up and burlesque with the envelope pushing film culture emerging from Hollywood before enforcement of the notorious Hays code put an end to overt expressions of sexuality or immorality on screen. Pastel is dated and signed on the back and the sitter is identified in the artist's hand as seen. Beautifully framed and matted behind glass in a handsome gallery frame and ready to hang.

Verna Hillie was a Monograph Pictures star who appeared in The Marx brothers comedy "Duck Soup" in 1934 and starred alongside John Wayne in the "Star Packer" and "The Trail Beyond" in that same year.

Cardwell Higgins was a prolific American 1930s-40s illustrator. He created risque pin up girl covers for the titles Silk Stockings, High Heels, The Stocking Parade, Reel Movie Fun, and other pre-code publications of the day.

Explore related art collections: $5,000 - $20,000 / Pin-Ups & Nudes / 1930s

See all original artwork by Cardwell Higgins



Cardwell S. Higgins is known for his covers and illustrations for the pulp magazine trade including pin-up girls. He was an advertising illustrator for magazines and corporations, and one of the series he created was "Joe and Bob on Northland Trails". He also did a mural for the United States Army base in Richmond, Virginia.

Higgins was born in East Orange, New Jersey and lived in West Nyack, New York. He studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"