Modest Stein (1871 – 1958) was a Russian born illustrator who came to America in 1888. His full name was Modest Aronstam.
He was a cover artist for Street & Smith pulp magazines – “Detective Stories, Crime Busters, Mystery Magazine.
Stein also did film magazines covers.
Wonderfully vivid colours ( in contrast to the black and white images filmgoers were seeing on screen.)

I wonder if any of these original paintings were saved. They would look so beautiful in frames.


Gary Cooper


Frances Dee


Myrna Loy

(Far removed from The Thin Man!)


Gloria Swanson


Jean Harlow

Love the way he paints hands.


Nancy Carroll


Kay Francis


Loretta Young


Norma Shearer


Richard Arlen


Another cover of a different looking Myrna Loy.




I couldn’t find any film magazine covers by Stein beyond the early 1930s. Many issues of the magazine can be read at which is a wonderful resource ).

Must check The Truth about Salaries!


One of the covers Stein did for The Shadow magazine.

5 responses »

  1. Apparently yes at least some work is recently on the market:
    “ Modest Stein was an American painter who was born in 1871. Modest Stein’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, with realized prices ranging from $650 USD to $4,375 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork. Since 2012 the record price for this artist at auction is $4,375 USD for Skull and Keys, Shadow digest cover, sold at Heritage…”

  2. Fantastic Wikipedia entry, what a life he had outside of illustration.

    A photo of Modest.

  3. He hasn’t quite managed to capture Myrna Loy (second picture) and especially Garbo. It looks nothing like her.

Leave a Reply to Han Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s