In Illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post, author Ashley Halsey Jr. describes the amusing troubles Gilbert Bundy encountered while working on the oil painting below:
Bundy actually borrowed a huge antique mahogany 'three-way looking glass' from a friend, damaged it while hauling it up two flights of stairs, then was unable to achieve the effect he wanted by using it.
"I finally posed my model backwards or sideways in three different poses, one for each panel of the mirror, and worked direct," Bundy told the author, "Then I combined the three to get the triple-reflection effect."
Because a mirror reverses the image, Bundy had to reverse each version of the girl... then discoverd at the last minute that the legs in one panel were in the wrong position. These are the sort of error details Post readers loved to write in about - and that Post editors took very seriously. In spite of the error looking the way Bundy had wanted it to, "with next to no time left, Bundy frantically got his painted lady to put her best leg forward and the illustration was saved."
Painted ladies and best legs were a common theme in Bundy's career.
"Until the New Look made a well-turned ankle a thing of the moment instead of the past, the hallmark of a Gilbert Bundy illustration was a shapley pair of legs at full length. They were always beauts, and no foolin' about them."
Just the other day, Kent Steine sent the pin-up above and writes, "This is from the Ted Saucier (cocktail mixing ) book, "Bottoms Up". The cover has the Dorn piece reprinted in numerous thumbnail sized repeats. The Bundy is contained within."
"As you well know illustrators were considered celebrities in the old days, and among many other things, often had cocktails named after them in places like the Stork Club, 21, The Iron Gate, and the Cafe DeArtiste (Cornwell and Mr. Reilly lived above, in the Hotel De Artiste)."
"Bundy's 'Piccadilly Circus', was a concoction of: jigger of dry gin, 1/3 French vermouth, dash of absinthe, dash of grenadine, ice. . . shake well, strain into a cocktail glass."
Speaking of girls, booze and social clubs, one last point of note is Gilbert Bundy's long association with Esquire magazine, for which Bundy began producing cartoons in the early 1930's. In The Illustrator in America, author Walt Reed credits Bundy's "deftly drawn, risqué humor" as being integral to the early success of that magazine.
As luck would have it, my pal Mike Lynch posted some scans just this week from the Esquire 25th Anniversary Cartoon Album, including one by Gilbert Bundy.
My Gilbert Bundy Flickr set.