I feel like I am letting you down if I don’t explain that in around 1889, the family was no longer able to pay for furthering any education, so Joe enrolled as an apprentice at the J.Manz company..a Chicago engraving house .At 15 years old, that was pretty extreme..he even took courses in the evening at the Chicago Art Institute. He quickly moved from errand boy at his company to staff illustrator with an amazing amount of ease..Go figure..! 4 years later, at the age of 19, Joe was illustrating pages for his company’s version of a bible..Kinda says still so much about his wonderful talents, right? I mean..to do 60 illustrations for a bible seems quite the task for a kid under 20..at least in todays standards.. When Joe was 22, in 1896, he won the competition against Maxfield Parrish to do the cover work for the August Century Magazine ..Can you imagine how excited he must have been?? Again showing the world he was so much a part of the masses..
I have often wished I had this original..how cool to have a piece of his humble beginnings! He was then asked to do 12 other covers for the magazine but those would be done from their schooling in Paris.. (he and Frank both went to the Academie in fall of 1896. The brothers returned in 1898 and opened a studio in Chicago. Both brothers were working quite hard and by 1900 had changed their surroundings to the exciting life of New York City !(known at that time as the hub of the magazine industry)