But health problems and alcohol issues plagued the artist, and by 1910 the island had been sold. Denslow was primarily illustrating advertising booklets for various companies, a fall back to something he did earlier in his career. But in 1915 a new opportunity beckoned - Denslow designed a cover for Life, the popular humor magazine, which was accepted and due to be published on their July 15th, 1915 issue. Delighted to have landed this prestigious job, Denslow used the profits from the sale of the drawing for a spree, ending in the hospital where he died of pneumonia on March 29th, before the magazine was even published.
The cover illustration is a colorful and delightful drawing, showing the artist hadn’t lost his ability to create fanciful images. It brings to mind the work of John Held Jr., the artist whose drawings would come to typify the 1920s, and who was just becoming recognized in his own career.