Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 245

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 245

of domestic furniture in the stores completely changed.

The next undertaking was a systematic plan for improving the pictures on the walls of the American home. Bok was employing the best artists of the day: Edwin A. Abbey, Howard Pyle, Charles Dana Gibson, W. L. Taylor, Albert Lynch, Will H. Low, W. T. Smedley, Irving R. Wiles, and others. As his magazine was rolled to go through the mails, the pictures naturally suffered; Bok therefore decided to print a special edition of each important picture that he published, an edition on plate-paper, without text, and offered to his readers at ten cents a copy. Within a year he had sold nearly one hundred thousand copies, such pictures as W. L. Taylor’s “The Hanging of the Crane” and “Home-Keeping Hearts” being particularly popular.

Pictures were difficult to advertise successfully; it was before the full-color press had become practicable for rapid magazine work; and even the large-page black-and-white reproductions which Bok could give in his magazine did not, of course, show the beauty of the original paintings, the majority of which were in full color. He accordingly made arrangements with art publishers to print his pictures in their original colors; then he determined to give the public an opportunity to see what the pictures themselves looked like.

He asked his art editor to select the two hundred and fifty best pictures and frame them. Then he engaged the art gallery of the Philadelphia Art Club, and advertised an exhibition of the original paintings. No admission was charged. The gallery was put into gala

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