Works by Harry Anderson 1906-1996

Circus World Museum - Study
18" x 12" Mixed Media
Artist Bio
Harry Anderson 1906 - 1996
Illustrator Harry Anderson was born in 1906 in Chicago to Swedish parents. Talent for mathematics seemed to run in the family, so young Harry naturally later chose it for his college major, studying at the University of Illinois in 1925. Then he took an art course as an easy counterpoint to the math classes, and discovered both a talent and a love for drawing.

With the change in major came a change in venue.  He moved to Syracuse, New York, to attend the Syracuse School of Art in 1927.

At Syracuse he met and roomed with Tom Lovell who became a lifelong friend and an important illustrator in his own right.  They graduated with honors and moved to New York to share a studio and make their fortune.  Unfortunately, this was 1931 and the Depression was in full force.  Anderson sold candy at night and peddled his art to agencies during the day.  It took him over a year to make his first magazine sale, and several more years before he felt established enough to move back home to Chicago.

With some New York magazine sales behind him, he joined an art service agency that found work for its artists in return for a portion of the fee.  By 1937 Anderson was working on national ad campaigns like the one for Sealed Power Piston Rings in 1938.  He was also much in demand for story illustrations for the major magazines.  His work appeared in Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post and others. The images were on a par with the best work being done at the time.

He married his wife, Ruth Huebel, around 1940.  The following year he left the agency and joined the studio of Haddon Sundblom -- famous for his Coca-Cola Santa Claus paintings
He was featured in a 1956 issue of American Artist magazine and received awards from several art associations throughout his career, including the prestigious New York Art Directors Club.  In 1994 he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame.

In the Sixties he began painting calendars for Exxon Oil company (then Esso) and was able to stretch his artistic muscles on images based on Great Moments in American History and Great Moments in Early American Motoring.  Interestingly enough, Anderson was actively supporting himself with illustration work at a time when most of his generation were in forced retirement..


Harry Anderson died in 1996 at the age of 90, the last of a generation of illustrators


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