Earle K. Bergey (August 26, 1901 – 1952) was an American illustrator who painted cover art for a wide diversity of magazines and paperback books. Today Bergey is best recognized for creating the iconic cover of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for Popular Library at the height of his career in 1948.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bergey attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1921 to 1926. He initially went to work in the art department of the Philadelphia’s Public Ledger, and he drew the comic strip Deb Days in 1927. Early in his career, Bergey contributed many covers to the pulp magazines of publisher Fiction House. By the mid 1930s, Bergey made a home and studio in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and he married in 1935. Many of his paperbacks are now cult classics, some featuring hidden self-portraits. Bergey died suddenly in 1952 in a doctor’s office with family at his side.
The cover of La Paree Stories (1935) (adapted from the original ’Pretty as A Peacock) is in the Public Domain due to failure to comply with required formalities (ie. 1923 through 1977 published without a copyright notice).
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30cm x 30cm acrylic painting completed 13 November 2009. Painted on 300gsm acrylic paper.