John Held Jr. (1889-1958) was a prominent American illustrator and cartoonist who came to define the Roaring Twenties with his vibrant depictions of the era. He’s best remembered for his iconic representations of the “flapper” and the “sheik”, symbols of the liberated young woman and man of the 1920s. These illustrations, characterized by bobbed hair, short skirts, and a carefree spirit, encapsulated the essence of the Jazz Age. Held’s artistry was not just limited to these depictions; he showcased his versatility through woodcuts, cartoons, and even sculpture. His works were widely celebrated, gracing the covers of major magazines like “Life”, “Vanity Fair”, and “The New Yorker”.

Beyond his solo endeavors, Held often collaborated with his wife, Myrtle Held, forming a dynamic artistic duo that contributed significantly to his storied career. Their combined creativity captured the changing societal norms and youth culture of their time. Today, John Held Jr.’s illustrations serve as a vivid window into the 1920s and 30s, providing a blend of humor, observation, and cultural commentary that continues to resonate with modern audiences.

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