American painter and illustrator Joe Bowler was born in Forest Hills, New York. Joe began to draw when he was three. His first illustration for a national magazine was published by Cosmopolitan when he was nineteen. While working as an apprentice at the prestigious Charles E. Cooper Studios, Inc. he had the opportunity to learn the craft from some of the finest artists in the profession.
Joe Bowler has described himself as a "narrative painter of human form" and it is his understanding of the structure and language of the human body in concert with a natural setting that sets his work apart from other artists, especially the female nudes for which he has become so well known.
Bowler began his career as a professional artist at the age of 18. His mentors at Charles E. Cooper Studios included Coby Whitmore, Bernard D'Andrea and Joe DeMers and his first story illustration was published in Cosmopolitan in 1949.
The great museums of New York afforded the young artist opportunities to see original paintings by the great masters of Art history. Joe was particularly drawn to those who worked in the late nineteenth century. The draftsmanship, compositions and colors of Sargent, Sorolla and Zorn became his major influences and he began to work in oil, "the painters' medium".
It is noteworthy that in 1972, when Joe Bowler left the field of illustration in New York and moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, he effectively retired from the demands of art directors to pursue a passion for portraiture. It was a natural evolution because much of his work had been magazine cover illustrations for McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Woman's Home Companion and Good Housekeeping as well as on Time covers from 1948 into the 1970s.
Elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1992, Joe remains modest about his achievements. "All my life", he said recently, "I've been trying to get it right. With each painting the journey becomes more exciting, the destination still a bit out of reach". Collectors, however, find it difficult to imagine what could be out of the reach of Joe Bowler's considerable talent. His is a classical taste carefully expressed through a highly sophisticated grasp of light, color and composition.