John Held Jr.
John Held Jr. (January 10, 1889 – March 2, 1958) was a United States illustrator, one of the most famous magazine illustrators of the 1920s. His cheerful art defined the flapper era so well that many people are familiar with it today.
Born in Salt Lake City, he was a son of Annie (Evans) and John Held. His father was born in Geneva, Switzerland and was adopted by Mormon educator John R. Park who brought him to Salt Lake City. His maternal grandfather, James Evans, was an English convert to Mormonism. He always claimed that his only art training came from his father and sculptor Mahonri M. Young, a grandson of Brigham Young.
Held illustrated many covers for Life prior to its 1936 purchase by Henry Luce. In addition to his archetypical flapper illustrations, during the same time Held also did cartoons in a 19th century woodcut style, in a bit of satirical nostalgia. His woodcut cartoons and faux maps were frequently in The New Yorker, founded by his high school classmate Harold Ross, from 1925 to 1932. Held created the iconic "Wise Men Fish Here" motto sign for the Gotham Book Mart, which hung above its door for the life of the store.
His post-1930 works are not as well-known, but he was versatile enough to earn a living through the Great Depression and beyond. By 1952, the nostalgia market was dominated by 1920s designs, and Held's earlier works enjoyed a revival. He died at 69 of throat cancer.