Gloria Stoll Karn: Pulp Romance

February 10, 2018 through June 10, 2018

Talented artist Gloria Stoll Karn is recognized for her contributions to the pulp fiction industry during the 1940s, one of very few female illustrators working in the field to create illustrations and covers for popular romance and dime store magazines. This exhibition explore the artist’s short but prolific career, and her unexpected journey in a world previously assigned to male artists. From 1941 to 1949, Stoll Karn’s art appeared on the covers and pages of many Popular Publication magazines, including Black Mask, Dime Mystery, Detective Tales, New Detective, All-Story Love, New Love, Love Book, Love Short Stories, Love Novels, Romance, and Thrilling Love, as well Argosy. The artist, now in her nineties, continues to create art for her own enjoyment, exploring a range of themes and styles.

Gloria Stoll Karn GIRL WITH MITTENS, 1945. Watercolor on board. Private Collection

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Celebrated for her artistic contributions to the pulp fiction industry during the 1940s, Gloria Stoll Karn (b. 1923) was one of just a few female illustrators working to create a steady stream of tantalizing images for the covers for popular romance and dime store magazines. During the first half of the twentieth century, inexpensive fiction magazines were described as “the pulps” for the wood pulp paper that they were printed on, in contrast to the glossies or “slicks,” which were published on higher quality stock. Sensational subjects—from romance and westerns to crime and detective stories—were popular fare for the genre.

From 1941 to 1949, Stoll-Karn’s illustrations were highly sought after by Popular Publications, one of the largest publishers of pulp magazines, and her work appeared regularly in Black Mask, Dime Mystery, Detective Tales, New Detective, All-Story Love, New Love, Love Book, Love Short Stories, Love Novels, Romance, and Thrilling Love, as well Argosy. This special exhibition explores Stoll-Karn’s prolific, nearly decade-long career, and her unexpected journey in a world previously assigned to male artists.

The child of Charles and Anne Stoll, both artists, Stoll-Karn grew up in New York City, where she attended the newly-established High School of Music and Art. During her high school years, she developed a strong portfolio, but took a position as an insurance agency clerk after graduation to help support the family following her father’s death. Discouraged that her efforts to find employment as an artist had not come to fruition, she attempted to burn her portfolio in the incinerator of her Queens, New York building. Too large to fit down the chute, she placed it in front of her door awaiting trash removal, but instead of discarding it, the janitor took time to leaf through her work and shared it with Rafael DeSoto, a famous pulp artist who was also a resident there. Impressed by what he saw, DeSoto referred Stoll-Karn to Popular Publications, and the steady stream of assignments that followed allowed her to establish a thriving freelance career.

In 1949, the artist married Fred Karn, and the two moved to Pittsburgh where he found employment. Her last pulp cover was published that year, but she continued to create art for personal enjoyment, teaching painting and collage at the Community College of Allegheny County, The Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and the North Hills Art Center. Now in her nineties, Stoll-Karn still reaps the rewards of a creative life and explores a range of techniques and styles in her art.

Stephanie Haboush Plunkett

With thanks to Jeanne Torlidas Willow

IMAGES

Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover for ALL-STORY LOVE, June 1945
Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover illustration for ALL-STORY LOVE, Dec. 1947
Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover for DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, November 1943
Gloria Stoll Karn, COWBOY AND WOMAN WITH PARASOL
Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover illustration for ROMANCE WESTERN, August 1948
Gloria Stoll Karn [SEATED MALE WEARING TIE] student work
Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover illustration for RANGELAND ROMANCES, July 1945
Gloria Stoll Karn, Cover illustration for RANGELAND ROMANCES, June 1949
Gloria Stoll Karn and her husband Unknown photographer

RELATED EVENTS

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MEDIA

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VENUE(S)

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA      February 10, 2018 through June 10, 2018

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HOURS

Norman Rockwell Museum
is Open 7 days a week year-round

May – October and holidays:
open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays in July and August

Rockwell’s Studio Open:
April 28 through November 12, 2018 (currently open)

November – April: open daily:
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday Closings
The Museum is Closed:

  •    Thanksgiving Day
  •    Christmas Day
  •    New Year’s Day

 

ADMISSIONS

Members: FREE
Kids 18 and under FREE
Adults $20
Seniors (65+): $18
Veterans: $17
College students with ID: $10

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DIRECTIONS

Norman Rockwell Museum 9 Route 183 Stockbridge, MA 01262 413-298-4100 x 221

Download a Printable version of Driving Directions (acrobat PDF).

Important note: Many GPS and online maps do not accurately place Norman Rockwell Museum*. Please use the directions provided here and this map image for reference. Google Maps & Directions are correct! http://maps.google.com/

* Please help us inform the mapping service companies that incorrectly locate the Museum; let your GPS or online provider know and/or advise our Visitor Services office which source provided faulty directions.

Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 South to Stockbridge. Turn right onto Route 102 West and follow through Main Street Stockbridge. Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 North into Stockbridge. Turn left onto Route 102 West at the stop sign next to The Red Lion Inn. Shortly after you make the left turn, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
Boston (two-and-a-half hours) or Springfield (one hour): Take the Ma ssachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
from Albany and west: (one hour) Take I-90 east to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(two-and-a-half hours) Take either the New York State Thruway or the Taconic State Parkway to I-90 East. Follow I-90 East to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(one-and-a-half hours) Take I-91 North to the Massachusetts Turnpike. Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(five minutes) Go west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
2018-06-11T10:53:26+00:00