Harry Anderson (artist)

Harry Anderson
Born (1906-08-11)August 11, 1906
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
Died November 19, 1996(1996-11-19) (aged 90)
Nationality American (United States)
Field Painting, Illustration
Training Syracuse School of Art
Patrons Seventh-day Adventist Church, LDS Church, Exxon, numerous magazines
Awards New York Art Directors Club, Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame

Harry Anderson (August 11, 1906 – November 19, 1996[2]) was an American illustrator and a member of the Illustrator's Hall of Fame. A devout Seventh-day Adventist artist, he is best known for Christian-themed illustrations he painted for the Adventist church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was also a popular illustrator of short stories in American weekly magazines during the 1930s and early 1940s.


Originally intending to be a mathematician, in 1925 while attending the University of Illinois, Anderson discovered a talent and love for drawing and painting.[1] In 1927, he moved to Syracuse, New York and attended the Syracuse School of Art for classical art education.[1] He graduated in 1931 during the Great Depression and had difficulty making a living. Within a year he earned enough by doing art for magazines to return home to Chicago. By 1937 he was working on national advertising campaigns and doing work for several major magazines, such as Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post and others.[1]

About 1940, Anderson married Ruth Huebel,[3] a girl who worked in his building and posed for him on one occasion.[1] The following year he went to work for Haddon Sundblom's studio. In 1944, Anderson and his wife joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, by request, did a painting of Jesus. Anderson's painting, "What Happened to Your Hand?", depicting Jesus with modern-day children was decried as blasphemous by some adults, but was eventually printed in the publishing program.[1] From that time on, he split his time between commercial illustrations and religious ones. He did the religious-themed pieces for near minimum wage.[1]

Anderson was featured in a 1956 issue of American Artist and received awards from several associations throughout his career. He was awarded the prestigious New York Art Directors Club. In 1994, he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame, joining such notable illustrators as Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, and N. C. Wyeth.[1]

In the 1960s, Anderson did work for Exxon Oil (then Esso). In the mid-1960s, he was commissioned to create a number of paintings for the LDS Church. He painted a large oil mural of Jesus ordaining his apostles for the church's pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Following this, he did at least two dozen more paintings for the LDS Church;[3] many of these are displayed in the Temple Square Visitors Center and the lobby of the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at other prominent church locations. Re-prints of some of Anderson's paintings can be found hanging in nearly every LDS Church meetinghouse and temple in the world.[3] The paintings are also still widely used by the church for many of its printed and online materials.

In his 70s and 80s, Anderson made western-themed paintings for several fine art galleries, a pursuit shared by several well-known retired American illustrators of that era.

In his spare time, Anderson enjoyed crafting model ships and buggies, hooking rugs, carving flocks of birds, making furniture and other hands-on crafts.[1]

In March 2008, Anderson's work was discussed on a segment of PBS's History Detectives, which focused on a comic book he created about the famous amputee baseball player Pete Gray.


  • Harry Anderson: The Man Behind the Paintings, Woolsey, Raymond H. and Anderson, Ruth.

See also

  • Mormon art


External links

  • Gallery of artwork by Anderson from GoodSalt.com

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