Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rene Bouche's Jack Benny portrait and more

Rene Bouche (1905-1963) was a renowned 20th century fashion illustrator working for decades for various publications, primarily VOGUE, where he rendered many cover images. He also drew, in his loose, sketchy and elegant style, a number of celebrity portraits and advertisements for magazines.  In the early 1950's he was hired by CBS's creative director William Golden to create portraits of their current stars to be used for advertising and promotional materials. Among these drawings was possibly what would become his most iconic image, a charcoal/marker & gouache silhouette of a relaxed Jack Benny. Benny was so taken with the drawing he used it for his TV show opening and closing and as his official logo throughout the rest of his career.

Read about the origin of the Jack Benny illustration here:

The original art, measuring 12 x 21 inches, is now on display in the
National Portrait gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, donated by CBS.

opening title card
a later title card with added happy American faces (not drawn by Bouche)

a recent DVD box set
a seventies Las Vegas ad

a newspaper "Benny-Fit" concert ad

and two concert programs...

Bouche's Benny portrait was also used on the TV Guide
tribute cover
                                  More of Bouche's celebrity portraits...
Lucille Ball/Desi Arnez for CBS

Danny Kaye for CBS
Edward R. Murrow for CBS
Marcel Marceau
Geraldine Page

WH Auden

Edna Ferber
Jean Cocteau
Baba Paley, wife of CBS president William Paley
Sophia Loren

John F. Kennedy
Jean Kerr
Teddy Kennedy
Red Skelton
Skelton also used the art as his official logo

Used on this Burger King giveaway record

Judy Garland
Tammy Grimes posed with her portrait

Benny Goodman
Marlene Dietrich

More on Bouche:



  1. He was good. so miss this kind of work.

  2. Thanks for this, Drew. He was a master.

  3. I saw a lot of the at the Nat'l Portrait Gallery in DC. And I own a nice non-portarit of lingerie models.

  4. I may have the original of Edward R, Murrow. My mom picked it up in a warehouse in Houston in 1959 of items from an oil executive's office.

  5. I may have the original Edward R. Murrow. My mom picked it up in 1959 from an oil executive in Houston.