Wednesday, February 15, 2012

THE CHRISTY GIRL

 


Howard Chandler Christy, April, 1900
Lafayette College Special Collections & College Archives
From academicmuseum.lafayette.edu


Christy with his wife Nancy May Palmer Christy
Peter A. Juley & Son Collection
Photograph Archives
Smithsonian American Art Museum
From sirismm.si.edu


If only one of those American girl illustrators were to be nominated as The American Artist, it would certainly be Howard Chandler Christy. His many fine art paintings include more than 140 portraits of Presidents, First Ladies, Vice Presidents, Supreme Court members, foreign dignitaries and a virtual who’s who of society and aristocracy.
(usartworks.us)


Christy Girl
From liveinternet.ru


Christy Girl
Added by Andressa Pacheco at listal.com


Christy Girl
From liveinternet.ru


Christy Girl
From liveinternet.ru


Christy Girl
From liveinternet.ru


Christy Girl
From liveinternet.ru


Christy Girl
Added by Andressa Pacheco at listal.com

Howard chandler Christy
From ecfanews.wordpress.com
Born in 1873, Howard Chandler Christy was just 22 when the first "Christy Girl" was published in the November 1895 issue of The Century magazine. Actually, he produced four images for the story, The Tragedy of the Comedy, by Chester Bailey Fernald and they depicted five women and little else. Like his contemporaries, W.T. Benda, Franklin Booth, Frank Craig, Harrison Fisher, and J.C. Leyendecker, he was a young artist in New York at a time when the magazines of the day were clamoring for images He came to the city from Ohio in 1890 when he was 16 to attend the Art Students League where he studied under William Merritt Chase. But his funds quickly ran out and he was forced by economic circumstances to return to Ohio. Two years later, he returned and studied with Chase who was promoting "plein air" as the way to paint. Chase didn't start his own school until 1896, so it's likely that these were private lessons at a preliminary version of the school. This direct-from-nature method suited Christy perfectly and his work was soon in demand. At some point, Christy attended the National Academy of Design. It may have been while he was still a student there that he received that first 1895 commission from The Century. The editors were always on the lookout for upcoming young artists and Christy was a standout student.
He provided a few illustrations to a serialized article on the Revolutionary War for Scribner's Magazine. A few months later the magazine sent him and fellow artist, F.C. Yohn to Cuba to cover the Spanish American War. The young men were likely friends as Yohn was all of 23 at the time and a fellow Art Students League graduate.
(JVJ PUBLISHING ILLUSTRATORS at bpib.com)


Chase Studio (Christy in R foreground)
Special Collections & College Archives
Lafayette College
From academicmuseum.lafayette.edu


In the process of covering the war, Christy befriended Col. Theodore Roosevelt and gained an even broader interest in patriotic subjects. By the time he returned home in 1898, he was a celebrity; his fame and reputation were truly secured with 'The Soldier's Dream', published in Scribner's, for which he portrayed a beautiful girl who became known as 'The Christy Girl.' Like 'The Gibson Girl,' she was a prototype for the ideal American woman: high bred, aristocratic and dainty though not always silken-skirted; a woman with tremendous self respect." From this point forward, Christy painted beautiful women for McClure's and other popular magazines. As for book illustrations, he also authored some such as 'The Christy Girl' and 'The American Girl', and that grew his audience exponentially. These images combined to make his notion of a beautiful girl everyone's criteria thereafter. In 1908, he returned to the riverbanks of the Muskingum River and enlarged 'The Barracks,' his childhood home, by adding a studio. In spite of being so far from the mainstream, publishers beat their way to his door. By 1910, his commission rates had reached an astounding average of $1,000 per week.
(americanillustration.org)


I Want You, 1917
Model - Mrs. Nancy Christy
From bluejacket.com


Nancy Palmer Christy
Modeling for the 1917 Navy recruitment poster
Lafayette College Special Collections & College Archives
From academicmuseum.lafayette.edu


Fly with the US Marines, 1920
National Museum of the Marine Corps
From 4gwar.files.wordpress.com


A Dream of the Future
From americanartarchives.com


Army v. Notre Dame Game 1938
From collectableivy.files.wordpress.com


Good Housekeeping
Army Navy programs
Army v. Notre Dame Game 1938 and 1939
Model - Mrs. Nancy Christy
From americanartarchives.com


Victory Liberty Loan Posters
From hapmoore.com


Gee!! I wish I were a man I'd join the Navy
Model - Mrs. Nancy Christy
From bluejacket.com


In 1915, Christy returned to New York and continued on his career path with magazine commissions. As war once again appeared imminent, Christy rallied his talents to assist in the war effort by painting posters for government war bonds, the Red Cross, Navy, Marines, and civilian volunteer efforts. His most famous poster was a young woman dressed in a Navy uniform with the caption, "If I were a man, I would join the Navy", a classic today.
(americanillustration.org)
In the 1930-31 period, he became extremely depressed as did so many others after the Great Crash of 1929. In 1934, Christy painted magnificent murals of female nudes at the Cafe des Artistes in New York, a restaurant on the ground floor of his studio building. This marked a new recognition of Christy. A new kind of commission developed for him to paint celebrities and allegorical works depicting historical events, and even posters to memorialize significant historical events. He was painting illustrations again, but of a wholly different sort.
(americanillustration.org)


Franklin Delano Roosevelt with Bill of Rights poster
Lithographic poster
Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress
From myloc.gov


President Franklin Roosevelt (1882–1945) tried to rouse support for an aggressive foreign policy in his January 1, 1941, Four Freedoms speech before Congress. Roosevelts four proposed universal freedoms were freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The photograph above shows the president looking at a World War II propaganda poster by artist Howard Chandler Christy (1873–1952) that links the Bill of Rights with Roosevelts proposed freedoms.
(myloc.gov)


The Signing of the Constitution of the United States
From jackiewhiting.net


Hotel des Artistes Studio New York City
Lafayette College Special Collections & College Archives
From academicmuseum.lafayette.edu


The 1940's witnessed Christy undertaking milestone pieces such as The Signing of the Constitution (his most famous mural, which hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building), Signing the United Nations Charter and his portrayal of Thomas Edison in Dawn of a New Light. Howard Chandler Christy died peacefully at the age of 80 in 1952, in his beloved studio apartment at the Hotel des Artistes.
(americanillustration.org)

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Enjoyed the article! Family lore has it that HCC is a distant cousin, and I've been a fan for many years. One small point, his Constitution painting is hanging in the grand staircase on the House of Representatives side of the Capital building, not in the Rotunda. It's huge, and a stunning sight!

Jim Head said...

I enjoyed your article. I am finishing a book series on Howard Chandler Christy entitled, "An Affair with Beauty - The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy." The first book in the trilogy will be published in 2016 with the following books in the series published in consecutive years. Just a couple of clarifications: (1) Christy was born in 1872, not 1873, a year he often mistakenly claimed until the 1940s; (2) the middle name of his wife is spelled "Mae" not "May"; and (3) Christy was a very happy, jovial artist who was an alcoholic for reasons I will explain in the second book in the Christy sereies; however, he was not depressed in the early 1930s. I am not sure where that story originated, but I have interviewed models who knew him during that time period and none of them found him ever to be depressed. Indeed, it was during this time that he met his favorite model, Elise Ford, who was considered one of the most beautiful women in New York. Best, Jim Head