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Howell Dodd (American, 1910-2005)



Who was artist Howell Dodd?

Howell Dodd was an American pinup artist and magazine illustrator who worked for years under several different pseudonyms. He is perhaps best known for his work with Valor, Police Detective, and other semi-tawdry publications in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.  He is famous for often including nudity in his illustrations -- something that many of his peers tried to skirt because of censorship law. 

Howell Dodd’s work is prized by many collectors because of his fluid lines, vivid colors, and obvious flair for the dramatic. His pieces represent some of the best art from the “pulps” of the time and as such have been collected ardently by his many fans. Not much is known about his private life (even his death date is contested by some who claim he’s still alive and active), but his work more than speaks for itself. It’s all on the canvas -- a world of excitement and escapism, enthralling women, rugged men, and the short dangerous lives they often lead. 

What kind of art does Howell Dodd make?

Howell Dodd was one of the preeminent pinup and magazine illustrators of his day. Whether it was watercolor, oils, or simple pen and ink, his pieces were some of the most alluring and in-demand of the day. He worked for several different magazines during the 1940s and 1950s including Cavalcade and Police Detective but is perhaps best known for the comic Scorchy Smith. His pieces often focus on the infamous Gun Moll trope, alluring women who tempt men to evil fates. While several of his pieces feature nudity, his work is defined more by a sense of humanity. His subjects are everyday people, the stakes are high, the drama is epic -- all of this 

How did artist Howell Dodd get started?

Little is known about Howell Dodd’s early life. He was born in 1910 and didn’t start producing work commercially until the late 1930s. It was the comic, Scorchy Smith, an aviation strip that led to Howell’s early fame. He soon became in-demand, working for a number of different pulp magazines and creating pinup calendars for the next two decades. Sometime during these years, he also taught at The Famous Artists’ School and worked on a series of illustrations for the comic versions of popular novels. The most famous of these was his work on The Black Rose, which was based on the 1947 novel by Thomas B. Costain. 

How much are Howell Dodd’s paintings worth?

Howell Dodd has a very broad range of value for his work, from a few hundred dollars up to around $6,000. The most ever paid for a Howell Dodd painting is $6,250 for the piece My Love Lies Cold! Police Detective magazine cover (1953). It sold for about a thousand more than even high estimates had previously suggested. This piece was sold on May 14th, 2015 by Heritage Auctions. We have a great relationship with Howell Dodd’s paintings, having sold his top two highest-selling pieces at auction. The other was Together We Smoke, Crime magazine cover (1953) which sold for $5,250 on the same date. 

Where to buy Howell Dodd’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 Howell Dodd’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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