Howard Connolly (American, 1903-1990)
Birth Place: Watch Hill, RI, US
Who was painter Howard Connolly?
Howard Connolly is a little-known American artist who specialized in pinup art in the mid-20th century. He also painted seascapes, celebrity portraits, and perhaps (most famously) a pinup piece featuring a young Marilyn Monroe. While not much is known about the early life of Howard Connolly, he was one of a number of pinup artists to come into the business through advertising and marketing in the middle part of the last century. He painted several maritime paintings during the Second World War -- many of which are now highly valued by collectors.
In the 1950s he made the move to pinup work and comic books, where many of his fellow artists were making money churning out work for magazines and publishers. While there wasn’t the insatiable desire for these images like there was in the previous decade, there was still more than enough work to be found for artists -- especially one with Connolly’s talent and drive.
What kind of art did Howard Connolly make?
Howard Connolly is best known for his pinup art, but to categorize him as “just” a pinup artist is to do a disservice to his body of work. Connolly was an extremely talented painter, able to switch genres at the drop of a hat. His seascapes are renown by collectors in that genre, his woodsy landscapes evoke both extreme nostalgia and tenderness, and his western paintings are some of the finest from this era. Yes, his pinup art brought him the most commercial success -- and it’s easy to see why. Connolly’s subjects are treated with humanity that many other artists can’t - or won’t - seem to master. His women are deeply human, painted in subtle shades and realistic settings that weren’t always popular at the time. It represents an artist’s eye and aesthetic that is all the more impressive for the genre that it found success in.
How did painter Howard Connolly get started?
Little is known about the early life of Howard Connolly, save for the fact that he never left his native, Rhode Island. He was a quiet, family man who spent two weeks every summer in Westerly at a rented beach home. He created a home studio and invited people to watch him work, and regularly took commissions from locals who wanted specific paintings done. His techniques (and timeliness, he was prolific) came from an early life in advertisement. This informed his professionalism and his aesthetic as he moved into the pinup world in later decades.
How much are Howard Connolly’s paintings worth?
Howard Connolly’s paintings are very reasonably priced, many can be had for a few hundred dollars. On the high end, a major Connolly pinup can reach five figures. The most ever paid for a Howard Connolly painting is $10,630 for Pin-Up Sailing (date not given) which was sold on June 27th, 2012 by Heritage Auctions. The second most ever paid for a Connolly painting is $7,500 for This is Adoration calendar illustration (date not given) also sold by Heritage Auctions on April 24th, 2018.
Where to buy Howard Connolly’s paintings for sale?
See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.
How to value Howard Connolly’s paintings?
The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.
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