400 Commerce Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
(646) 877-1269
Original Illustration Art circa 1890-1970

John Philip Falter

(1910-1982) biography  |  subscribe to this artist

Biography

    John Philip Falter was born in Plattsmouth and reared in Falls City, Nebraska. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Art Students League in New York on a scholarship, and the Grand Central School of Art in New York. Among his teachers were Mahonri Young, George Wright and Monte Crews.  

    Falter began his career in illustration early, starting with the Pulps, and at 20, sold his first picture to Liberty, a “slick” paper magazine. Talented and prolific, he soon added most of the other major magazines, and many advertising agencies, to his roster of clients.  

    His most important pictures were painted for the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, and he produced more than 200 of them. Many were based on the experiences of his Nebraska boyhood, in small town and country settings. He also painted a notable series of detailed street scenes in cities across the United States. These grew out of a chance visit of a Post art editor to Falter’s studio; there a picture of Gramercy Park caught his eye, which Falter had painted for pleasure.   

    John served in the Navy as a Chief Boatswain’s Mate during World War II; later, he was commissioned a Lieutenant on special art assignments. Among other projects after the war, he illustrated over 40 books for Reader’s Digest and completed many portrait commissions, including those of Admiral Halsey, Louis Armstrong, Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney, Mrs. Clark Clifford, and tenor John Charles Thomas. He later painted an outstanding series of historical subjects for the Bicentennial, commissioned by the 3M Company in 1976.           

    Falter was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Players, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. In 1976, he was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame. Although he did not often exhibit, his paintings are in several museums.