Restoring an Enoch Bolles painting for Roman Coppola

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 19:06 -- Jill Pratzon

Avid collector and director, screenwriter and producer Roman Coppola asked me to restore this painting by the iconic pin-up artist Enoch Bolles (1883-1976).

While examining the art and comparing it to the published version, Roman and I discovered that under thick, yellow overpaint, a whole different painting was hiding...

Bolles was a prolific painter, creating hundreds of images for advertising, posters and magazine covers. Later in life, Bolles himself sometimes painted over his work with an unsure hand, which is what we encountered. My task was to gently lift the yellow overpaint, as well as the heavy, brown curls that obscured the model's blonde hair.

Between the woman's feet, I uncovered a bowling ball, a prop that made sense considering the title, "She'll Bowl You Over" on the Film Fun magazine cover. The positioning of the original hand was restored, and the model was ready to pick up the ball.

I found subtle blue shadows, and lifted heavy overpaint from the model's face. A close look at the woman's arms showed that Bolles originally gave her long sleeves, but later painted over them with a whiter skin tone that now looked unnatural. 

After restoration, the painting resembled what Bolles created at the height of his career.