For the Love o' Lil: Hold 'Em by Leslie Thrasher

  • This exuberant scene was created by leading 20th-century American illustrator Leslie Thrasher
  • In it, a young couple embrace while cheering for a football game
  • This was painted for Liberty Magazine as part of the artist's For the Love o' Lil cover series
  • The series depicted the courtship and eventual marriage a typical young American couple
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-4495

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Leslie Thrasher
1889-1936 | American

For the Love o' Lil: Hold 'Em
Liberty Magazine cover, October 15, 1927

Signed “Leslie Thrasher” (lower left)
Oil on canvas

This charming painting by American illustrator Leslie Thrasher comes from his extremely popular For the Love o’ Lil cover series for Liberty Magazine. In it, a handsome young couple is caught up in the action of a football game. The painting's title, Hold 'Em is a delightful reference to both game's defensive strategy and the big embrace the couple shares. Exuding incredible character and a deep sense of nostalgia, the work is quintessential Thrasher in each and every detail.

In 1926, Thrasher received a huge contract with Liberty Magazine to produce one cover illustration per week for six consecutive years. For this project, he created a continuing story called For the Love o’ Lil, which followed the lives of Lil Morse and Sandy Jenkins, a typical middle-class American couple, through their courtship, marriage and childrearing. Each issue had an accompanying page-long story related to the cover, and Lil was so popular with the public that readers would write in with potential storylines for the characters. For the Love o’ Lil was so well-liked it even became a serialized radio program and a feature film. The present composition comes from early in the series, while the couple is still in their courtship phase, which Thrasher renders with wonderful attention to detail and his signature sense of humor.

Born in 1889 in Piedmont, West Virginia, Thrasher studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as a teenager and received a scholarship to study art abroad in Paris. Upon his return, he began studying under Howard Pyle, known as the “father of American illustration.” Thrasher sold his first cover illustration to the Saturday Evening Post in 1912, four years before Norman Rockwell’s first Post cover, and he would go on to produce over 360 magazine covers throughout his career. He painted humorous, relatable scenes of everyday life in America with colorful characters set against white backgrounds. He was also a successful commercial artist, painting advertisements for Cream of Wheat, Chesterfield Cigarettes and Fisk Tire.

Circa 1927

Canvas: 22 3/8" high x 18 3/8" wide
Frame: 18 1/8" high x 14 1/8" wide
For the Love o' Lil: Hold 'Em by Leslie Thrasher
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: America
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.13 Inches
Width: 18.38 Inches
Height: 22.38 Inches
Style: Illustration
Canvas Width: 14.125 Inches
Canvas Height: 18.125 Inches
For the Love o' Lil: Hold 'Em by Leslie Thrasher
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