The Art of Harry Anderson

Posted by Don Manley on

The artist, Harry Anderson (1906 - 1996) was a prolific American Illustrator and was inducted into the Society of Illustrators "Hall of Fame" in 1994.

Anderson was a devout Seventh-day Adventist and is best known for the Christian themed illustrations he painted for the Adventist Church. He was also a popular American illustrator and his work appeared in magazines, calendars and books.

Anderson attended the University of Illinois with intentions of becoming a mathematician. However, while attending school he discovered a talent for drawing and painting. In 1927 Anderson moved to Syracuse, NY and attended the Syracuse School of Art. He graduated in 1931, during the Great Depression and initially had difficulty finding work but by 1937 he was working on national advertising campaigns and doing work for many of the major magazines, including: Cosmopolitan, Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post among others.

About 1940 Anderson married Ruth Huebel, a woman who worked nearby and posed for Harry on one occasion. The following year Anderson went to work for Haddon Sundblom's studio. Haddon was an American illustrator best remembered for the work he did for The Coca-Cola Company in the 1930s. In 1994 Anderson and his wife joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, by request, rendered a painting of depicting Jesus with three children, the resulting "What Happened to Your Hand?" became one of his most popular paintings. From this time on Anderson split his time between commercial and religious illustration work, often completing christian themed pieces for near minimum wage.

In the 1960s Anderson did some illustrations for Exxon Oil (then Esso) and created a number of paintings commissioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church commissioned a large oil mural of Jesus ordaining his apostles for the 1964 New York Word's Fair.

In the 1970s and 80s, Anderson created western-themed paintings for several fine art galleries, a pursuit shared by several well-known illustrators of that era. In his spare time Anderson enjoyed crafting model ships and buggies, hooking rugs, making furniture and other crafts. He died on November 19th, 1996.

A 1986 photo of Harry holding his original painting of kids reading the Sunday Comics from

Below is a poster Anderson painted in the 1940s. The painting, titled "What Happened to Your hand?" was one of Anderson's most popular illustrations. We recently sold a copy of the poster below.


Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.