The Illustrated Gallery is thrilled to announce our latest acquisition of fourteen paintings by the Danish illustrator Kurt Ard to the collection. Much like Norman Rockwell, Ard was inspired by everyday life and he often used his wife and children as models, striving to portray figures and their surroundings as accurately as possible. Ard’s strong attention to detail creates a visual delight on canvas and enhances the relatability of his narratives. These charming scenes of childhood and witty commentaries on relationships and daily life are representative of Ard’s endearing humor that defines his signature style.


Little boy laying on grass reading comics and looking up at his father, who has a hand on a manual lawn mower

Kurt Ard. “While the Grass Grows.” Original cover for Familie Journal, published June 21, 1960 and HÖRZU, published July 30, 1960. Asking $75,000.


Kurt Ard was born in Copenhagen in 1925 and apprenticed to a Danish painter in his youth. He sold his first magazine illustration at the age of seventeen and began his career working for small newspapers, but commissions were scarce at the time due to World War II. After the War, Ard achieved global fame for his covers produced for popular magazines throughout Europe and the United States from the 1950s through the 1970s. In Europe, Ard’s illustrations graced the covers of popular magazines, including PanoramaHÖRZUAllers, and Familie Journal. In the United States, Ard’s illustrations appeared on eight covers of The Saturday Evening Post, as well as the pages of other leading publications, including McCall’s and Reader’s Digest.


Couple seated at a dinner table after finishing their meal as woman looks into a mirror and fixes her hair while man looks at the restuarant bill in shock

Kurt Ard. “Knight in Distress.” Original cover for Panorama, published February 21, 1959 and HÖRZU, published 1958. Asking $85,000


Little girl lounging akimbo in wing chair holding phone in 1957 next to little girl sitting upright in chair holding phone in 1907

Kurt Ard. “Now and Then.” Original cover for Familie Journal, May 28, 1957, Allers, May 1957, HÖRZU, August 10, 1957, and Panorama, October 25, 1958. Asking $95,000


Ard had a unique challenge producing artwork for US-based publications from his studio in Copenhagen. According to The Saturday Evening Post, after the artist submitted his sketches to the magazine’s editors and art department, Ard had to wait for a response before beginning his final painting. He sometimes had to halt progress and wait for approval if he wanted to make changes mid-project. (Reference: Joseph Scales, “Beyond the Canvas: Covering Up,” The Saturday Evening Post online, published July 23, 2014.)


Little boy sleeping on floor while dog lays in bed above and next to him

Kurt Ard. Animal Love. Original cover for Panorama, published 1971 and subsequently featured in Allers magazine, 1973. Asking $75,000


Little boy looks at watch while father tries to fix the television as mother and sister look on

Kurt Ard. “Hurry Dad.” Original cover for HÖRZU, May 16, 1959, and subsequently published on the cover of Panorama, November 14, 1959, and Familie Journal, Feburary 9, 1960. Asking $79,000


Kurt Ard. “In the Dentist’s Chair.” Original cover for The Saturday Evening Post, published October 19, 1957. Subsequently published on the covers of HÖRZU, November 21, 1964, Allers, January 31, 1965, Familie Journal, and February 2, 1965. Asking $160,000


Our newly-acquired Post cover, In The Dentist’s Chair, published on October 19, 1957, embodies Ard’s characteristic wit and attention to detail. The young man, still wearing a toy pistol in a holster, seems to have been torn from playing a cowboy with his friends. Having just completed his x-rays, which hang on the wall behind him, the boy awaits the arrival of the dentist to determine his fate. Interestingly, the Post editors empathize with the dentist rather than the patient. The Post describes: “Dentists are to be pitied. How would you like to be greeted by horrified faces like this from morn till night throughout your professional career? Dentists are kindly, humane souls who love their fellowmen, minister constructively to their grinders, and seldom hurt the faint-hearts much while doing it–yet their only reward, besides a fee, is those eternal faces, staring, staring upward as if at an ogre. Next time you go to a D.D.S., smile at him; and if he doesn’t faint, maybe he’ll pull a couple of your teeth for nothing. Kurt Ard…was astonished that his model climbed into that chair looking happy and had to be urged to look awful. The lad, it developed, had just been to a dentist–his teeth were all filled.” (The Saturday Evening Post, October 19, 1957, p. 3)


Little boy blowing bubble gum while mother combs his hair in a photographer's studio

Kurt Ard. At The Photographer. Original cover for The Saturday Evening Post, published September 26, 1959. Asking $285,000.


Another charming Post cover by Ard, At The Photographer, published September 26, 1959, though not newly-acquired, deserves a mention for its endearing humor. The Post described, “Is the child-portrait expert losing his equanimity? No, he lost it some time ago. Fearing that he may crack up someday under the artistic strain of trying to make juvenile cutups look like what they ain’t, he is making an agonizing reappraisal of his life, toying with the idea of going into passport pictures or something. Artist Kurt Ard’s cover boy should be shot–well, photographed–just as he is, for thus only will the camera capture his nature, his soul, and if his bubble gum explodes, affixing gluey particles to his face and hair, all the truer portrait that will be of the inner spirit. But no, mamma wants a pic of a boy-angel. Soothing thought: many children are angelic, a joyful challenge to cameramen. Ah, there, little thumb-chewing black-eyed Susan on the wall!” (The Saturday Evening Post, September 26, 1959, p. 3).

Little boy dressed as a Native American scowling as he tries to play the violin and read music off of the music stand

Kurt Ard. Indian Playing Violin. Original illustration for unidentified publication. Asking $75,000

Little boy in a Native American headdress and facepaint holding a tomahawk as his mother's hands are applying a bandage to his shoulder

Kurt Ard. Indian Getting Bandage. Original advertisement for Salvekvick Bandages. Asking $65,000

Little boy driving a small red convertible with license plate 1958 drives next to old man fixing up his broken down old car with license plate 1957

Kurt Ard. New Year. Original cover for Familie Journal, published December 27, 1955 and again in Radio TV Gids, December 19, 1957. Asking $75,000


A car salesman trying to talk a man into buying a very small red car whose license plate reads "Pikkolo"

Kurt Ard. “It Looked Bigger in the Brochure.” Original cover illustration for HÖRZU and Panorama, published 1959. Asking $85,000


The illustration shows a woman sitting in a chair next to a man lying on a sofa. The scene of the couple's living room is shown from above

Kurt Ard. “I Thought You Didn’t Go Anywhere…” Published as an illustration for Steve McNeil’s short story “Husbands Better Tell,” The Saturday Evening Post, September 6, 1958 & R.W. Krepps, “Spøgelsesleoparden,” Familie Journal, circa 1958. Asking $79,000


The illustration features a man kissing the loved hand of a fashionably dressed woman standing on a city street.

Kurt Ard. “Whatever My Other Shortcomings…” Story illustration for “Love Wasn’t Enough” by John F. Wallace for The Saturday Evening Post, published June 22, 1957. Asking $65,000


An older woman shooting a water gun into a little boy's face as two other little boys lay in the grass beside them.

Kurt Ard. “As the summer wore on, she became accustomed to all their whimsical pretend games and learned to take part in them.” Story illustration for “Adios, Miss Em” by J.H. Giles, published in McCalls, February 1958. Asking $89,000


The illustration shows a young bride and groom at their wedding table above an older couple sitting down for a nice formal dinner.

Kurt Ard. Young Couple – Old Couple. Probable illustration for Family Herald magazine, May 1957. Asking $105,000