"Refinishing an Heirloom, Post Cover"   Lot no. 4748

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By George Hughes (1907-1990)

27" x 21.75"
oil on canvasboard
Signed Lower Left



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Saturday Evening Post, September 24, 1960, cover illustration.

The present work was published as the cover illustration of the September 24, 1960 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. It depicts the parents of the present owner preparing their new apartment, which they would move into after their wedding in June of 1960. Hughes visited during the preparation process as a friend of the bride-to-be’s step father and created the present illustration from photographs taken on his visit.

The Post writes: "We observe here two young people, happily in love with each other and grimly in love with a much-abused Chippendale chest of drawers. Artist George Hughes assures us they're non- beatniks; neither are they 'neatniks.' At any rate, their spiritual blessings probably outweigh their material assets, which are: one marriage certificate approximately as old as the potted plant on the window sill, one college diploma, a great supply of button-down shirts and tennis shoes, several useful wedding gifts, several not-so- useful wedding gifts, something old which they're converting into something new, and the assorted refinishing supplies on display here. There's a certain symbolism in this industrious scene: Don't most newlyweds have to scrape along for the first few years?" (Saturday Evening Post, September 24, 1960, p. 3)

Explore related art collections: Family / Magazine Covers / Saturday Evening Post Covers / 1960s / Humor / $100,000 & Above

See all original artwork by George Hughes



A native New Yorker, George Hughes studied at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. Some of his early work included fashion drawing, and there was a stint as a special designer in the automobile field in Detroit.

   For many years, Hughes was one of the most prolific painters of Saturday Evening Post covers; in addition, he painted many editorial illustrations for the Post and other publications, including McCall’s, Woman’s Day, American Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and Cosmopolitan magazines.

   Hughes was one of the originators and masters of the “sitcom” magazine cover, and through his efforts, readers would spend minutes rather than seconds looking at the covers.

   Also a painter, he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Detroit Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In recent years he restricted his work to portraiture.