Art and Advertising

Margaret on November 30th, 2007 at 4:01PM

Gladys Rockmore Davis Ad Painting

In the late 1940s, a very well-known American artist had a connection to Johnson & Johnson first aid products.  (And no, it wasn’t because the artist was accident-prone.)  This artist had paintings in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and her works were widely exhibited in other places.  The artist was Gladys Rockmore Davis, and she was a noted painter of children and other subjects

 Gladys Rockmore Davis Painting from First Aid Ad Series

In 1948, Johnson & Johnson commissioned Davis to do a series of original paintings of children for an advertising campaign for the Company’s first aid products.  According to Madison Avenue, it was the first time that the works of a renowned artist were tied to advertising.  Since Gladys Rockmore Davis had started as an advertising illustrator before turning to fine art, and since her paintings used bold, rich colors and had wide appeal, she was a good choice for the ad campaign.

Gladys Rockmore Davis 1949 Ad

 1949 Saturday Evening Post Ad

The first ad in the series appeared full page, full color in Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post in 1949.   Like other popular Johnson & Johnson ads, they struck a chord with the public and immediately set off a strong demand for reprints.  The Company received thousands of requests for the ad, and soon, copies of the Gladys Rockmore Davis ads were hanging in doctor’s offices, nurseries and kitchens across the United States.  The ad series ran for two years and included fifteen Gladys Rockmore Davis paintings.

               Gladys Rockmore Davis Painting from Ad Series      Gladys Rockmore Davis Painting from First Aid Ad Series

Today, many of the Davis ads – and some of the original paintings — can be seen in offices and conference rooms throughout Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, an example of how appealing the paintings remain to this day. 

Ad with Gladys Rockmore Davis Painting

Johnson & Johnson has always paid very close attention to advertising and has a long history of campaigns that have captured public’s imagination, dating back to the Nineteen-teens and continuing to today with the “Having a Baby Changes Everything” advertisements.   The Gladys Rockmore Davis ads are a part of that tradition.

Open Response to Art and Advertising

  1. Very interesting indeed! I was unaware of any Johnson &Johnson association with fine art and it was simply nice to learn this fact.

  2. I am interested in buying some of the old prints from Gladys Rockmore Davis,specifically the one below or any of the original prints that had nurses in the ads. I am looking to give these as gifts to my kids. I want the prints that either have the original ad claims and for sure have the Johnson & Johnson logo on the print.

    1951 Jun 4 Life Magazine GRD – Ad – Johnson & Johnson – Boy bandages girl in sand or any ads with nurses

    Please let me know where I can purchase these prints.

    Thank you,
    Sandy Grimes

  3. Hi Sandy,

    We are working on making reproductions of some of our vintage ads available for purchase in the near future, so please stay tuned! If you are looking for some of the Gladys Rockmore Davis ads immediately, your best bet would be to check online auction sites to see if any are being offered.



  4. I am looking for a reprint of the picture of the children on the beach. The one with the girl sitting on the rock. Will this one be available as a reproduction for sale?

  5. Hi Janet,

    Although Johnson & Johnson did make reproductions available decades ago when the ads first ran, we do not have them available today.


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