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Rolf Armstrong        1889-1960

Born Easter Sunday April 21 1889 John Scott Armstrong in Bay City Michigan.  At seventeen he  enrolled at the School of Art Institute of Chicago as Jack Scott Armstrong.  You can speculate that Jack and Rolf were his nick names growing up and he settling on Rolf as the one he liked best.  To supplement his income he taught boxing, baseball and art.

Formal education continued in New York in 1911 at the Henri School of Art and his first painting was published as the cover of “Judge” magazine in 1912.  New York was the right place and time for an aspiring artist.  Modern (practical) Color photography was decades in the future, the movie industry was booming along with the number of actors and the magazine publishers were adding color to enhance their competitiveness.  Armstrong’s beautiful and glamorous paintings filled the need along with other artists.

After several years of success in New York Rolf planed to continue his education in Pairs.  The day he was to board a ship to Europe WW I started, he canceled his trip.  All was not lost, he setup in a new more upscale apartment and went back to work.

During the war Rolf was a member of the “Mayor’s Committee on National Defense” and produced several recruiting posters along with his commercial work.  By wars end he had become a popular and successful artist in New York.  In 1919 he signed a two year contract to create the covers for “Photoplay” magazine, this gave Rolf Armstrong national exposure and secured his success.


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