Haddon ‘Santa Claus’ Sundblom

Coca-Cola-Art_Christmas_Santa10                                                              by Thomas Nast

Top:  Loveable ‘Santa’ by Haddon Sundblom, for Coca-Cola.

Bottom: By Thomas Nast, 1862, for Harper’s Magazine.

Don’t know about you, but I clung to my Santa beliefs way too long. Even now, I believe Santa Claus is the man in the beautiful Christmas illustrations drinking a bottle of Coke. He was a mysterious man who shushed the dogs as he snuck into every child’s living room to fill the stockings.  The image we carry today of the jolly, generous, sweet faced, rolly-polly man named Santa Claus was a amalgamation of three artists imagination: Clement Moore, Thomas Nast and Haddon Sundblom.

In 1931, Coca-Cola, of Atlanta, Georgia commissioned Haddon Sundblom to create a Christmas ad campaign first published in the Saturday Evening Post.  The well-known illustrator conjured his character from Clement Moore’s description of a jolly ole Saint Nicholas from his Christmas poem, of 1822, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and, from the 1862 Thomas Nast wood engraving of Santa Claus, commissioned during the Civil War by Harper’s magazine for it’s December cover. Nast can be referred to as the creator of what has become the American Saint Nicholas we know today.  Sundblom improved it.  He took each Santa image he knew and added the personality and cheery persona of one of his best friends, Lou Prentice, a fellow Chicago advertising colleague. Emphasizing the well-known round rosy cheeks and a white beard, Sundblom painted the quintessential image of good cheer and the happy glow of families at home at Christmas time.

Sundblom was a natural artist. Not only did he create our beloved Christmas icon but he also created the icons Aunt Jemima and the Quaker Oats Quaker. He was influenced by 20th century greats such as Howard Pyle, John Singer Sargent, Robert Henri, Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, who were known as practitioners of an art style familiar to the Impressionists called ‘alla prima’ or ‘the first stroke technique.’  It’s described as a technique where an artist consciously lays down the fewest strokes in the quickest time to ‘sufficiently describe moving targets.’  Legendary stories tell of Sundblom finishing a painting in one sitting.

The words below describe America’s favorite Christmas icon.

“His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.”

sundblom_aunt_jemima55

A Sundblom illustration/advertisement featuring Aunt Jemima.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

4 thoughts on “Haddon ‘Santa Claus’ Sundblom

  1. combs2jc says:

    I have always loved the art of Sundblom and Rockwell. For too many years they both got a bum rap because they were illustrators instead of fine artists. For my money they are two of the best artists America has ever produced and we are lucky they did so much work. Great article.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Navy Blue Heaven

A Little Slice Of Cowboys Heaven

The Cool Muse / La Musa Molona

"The Cool Muse: Proudly tormenting friends and family with paintings of doubtful quality since MMII" "

Jazz in a Minute

Discover trending and amazing Funky Jazzy artists. Definitely not another mainstream music blog.

Splatter Craze

Get crazy about being creative!

Dear Denver

I've been thinking so much about you...

Peter ILLIG's Blog

Art-making in Denver

A Stairway To Fashion

contact: ralucastoica23@gmail.com

Artwork of Jenna Koenning

Inspired by the natural sciences, I use landscape painting as a means to express issues of personal importance.

Tales Of Endearment

STORIES ABOUT LOVE, FRIENDS, VINTAGE, MUSIC AND LIFE.

artthatmeansbusiness

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

you can observe a lot just by watching

thoughts and insights into the worlds of television and film

Stephanie Raffelock

A good story can transform the way that you see the world.

Vernacularisms

Notes from Belfast

%d bloggers like this: