Another RAY PERRY Portrait

Barbara Boltson by Raymond Perry, 1954, courtesy of Judy Mintz

Yesterday I received this photo of another fine portrait by artist Raymond Perry of one of his fellow employees at DC Comics. I love the triple head shots, the composition and color are wonderful, and I think this one is now my favorite. Raymond Perry had a long career as a fine artist and illustrator before getting into comics in the late 1930s, and soon joining the staff of DC Comics, where he worked nearly until his death in 1960. I’ve written about his career HERE. Recently I received images of more Perry art from the son of another former DC employee, Larry Nadle, covered in THIS article.

Barbara’s daughter Judy first wrote in a comment on my blog:

My mom, then Barbara Boltson, worked at DC Comics in the 50s. We have two portraits of her painted by a Raymond Perry, of E41st Street. The back of one has 1 of 3 written on it. How can I confirm these were done by the Raymond Perry you are writing about? It certainly seems very likely, but would you recognize his work and/or signature? 

I told her I was sure they were by the same Perry, and she was happy to hear that. I also told her I’d love to see images of what she has. Judy then emailed me the picture above, saying:

Here’s one of the ones he did of my mom, then Barbara Boltson, in 1954. I know the year because he signed and dated another one that is still at my mom’s house. She passed away in May and we’re cleaning out the house. I liked this one better than the other one, but now that we know it’s provenance, maybe we’ll keep that, too. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of it for you when next I’m there.

Interesting story about that era at DC Comics. My mom wrote filler articles, those 2 pages of text that made shipping less expensive, but they didn’t want it known that women wrote them, so the one I have that’s actually attributed was written by Ben Boltson, her nom d’plume. I have a few other comics from that era, but none of those articles have bylines.

I think it was always the case, at least through the 1980s, that DC Comics staffers usually did some kind of freelance work for the company to supplement their income, and for low-level workers the salaries were low, as I know personally. Barbara may have written many of those two-page text fillers that DC used in most of their comics to allow them to classify them as 2nd-class items for cheaper shipping of subscription copies. Later they were gradually replaced by letters to the editor columns which fulfilled the same requirement.

I checked the Grand Comics Database and found they already have Barbara (Boltson) Mintz listed for that one text page credited to Ben Boltson and published in Superman #95, Feb 1955:

Images © DC Comics

As was usually the case, the two-page text filler began with an illustration and hand-lettered title by Raymond Perry, and here he used Barbara as the model for the woman in it.

There are probably many more Perry portraits of former DC Comics employees, I’ve heard about but not seen several others. It seems like something he enjoyed doing, and Raymond was certainly a skilled painter who perhaps didn’t have much chance to use those skills at his DC production department staff job. Thanks to Judy Mintz for sharing this one.

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