Rose Cecil O’Neill was an iconoclast in every sense of the

Rose Cecil O’Neill was an iconoclast in every sense of the

4/19/2021, 4:42:04 PM
Rose Cecil O’Neill was an iconoclast in every sense of the word. A self-taught bohemian artist, who ascended through a male-dominated field to become a top illustrator and the first to build a merchandising empire from her work, with her invention of the Kewpie doll. As a young woman coming of age in the late 19th century, Rose redefined what a female artist of the time could achieve both creatively and commercially. Settled in Manhattan, O’Neill quickly made a name for herself as a commercial illustrator, publishing in national magazines such as Life, Ladies’ Home Journal and Harper’s Monthly. At 23, she became the first woman artist on staff at the leading humor magazine Puck. At the same time, O’Neill remained dedicated to her own creativity fulfilling art. As a sculptor and a painter, she exhibited her work in New York and Paris. As a novelist and poet, she published eight novels and several children’s books. She also was an activist for women’s issues. O’Neill marched as a suffragist and illustrated posters, postcards and political cartoons for the cause. Wealthy beyond her dreams after her success with the Kewpie dolls, O’Neill retreated to Castle Carabas, a lavish villa in rural Connecticut, where she entertained artists and other exotic visitors. Over time, O’Neill’s generosity and extravagant living depleted her funds. In 1941, she moved into a family home in Missouri to work on her memoirs and died in 1944, penniless. For over a century, the Kewpie remained an icon of American popular culture. The vitality and versatility packed into O’Neill’s lifetime ensured that her contribution to American culture would continue to stand the test of time. The Kiss, late 19th century by Rose O'Neill. #arteesamor #historyofart #illustration #illustrator #arte #love #kiss #artgallery #artwork #femaleartist #sketch #couple #magical #romance #contemporaryart #19thcenturyart #masterpiece

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