"Shade Tree, Saturday Evening Post Cover"   Lot no. 2903

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By Richard Sargent (1911-1978)

23.00" x 21.88", Framed 29.00" x 28.00"
Gouache, Tempera and Pencil on Paperboard
Signed 'Dick Sargent' (Lower Left)



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Cover of the April 12th, 1958 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

A job at a local printmaking workshop in his hometown of Moline, Illinois, set the young Richard “Dick” Sargent on a formative path to becoming one of America’s most beloved illustrators. After high school, he went on to study at the art school in Moline, and he later trained at the Corcoran School of Art and the Phillips Memorial Gallery in Washington, D.C. Sargent specialized in images that capture the humorous side of American daily life. The idiosyncrasies and imperfections of Sargent’s own family dynamics--including the antics of his three sons--provided inspiration for some of the nearly 50 covers he created for The Saturday Evening Post, as well as illustrations for Fortune and Woman’s Day magazines. An acknowledged “master of the pregnant situation,” he delighted in leaving readers speculating on the aftermath of a particular scene, as in this piece, published on the cover of the April 12th, 1958 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

The Post described, “Let’s find fault with Mr. Siesta for half a minute. If he is celebrating Arbor Day, the object is to plant a tree, not kill it. If that tree, which needs a drink more than he does, dehydrates long enough in what Artist Dick Sargent says is Southern-state sunshine, it may cast off its leaves after being planted, look like a hat rack, and grow about as fast as one. Is Mr. S. waiting for his wife to dig the hole? In any event, it's obvious that whatever the man is good at, it is not horticulture. Which could account for his now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t lawn; no doubt he sowed seeds on the blank spots without raking them in and, when he turned his back, the birds gratefully ate them one and all. But enough of this petty censuring. After all, he’s happy, so what are we worrying about?”

(The Saturday Evening Post, April 12, 1958, p. 3)

Explore related art collections: Fatherhood / Beach/Summer / Saturday Evening Post Covers / Humor / Men / Rural / Family / 1950s / $50,000 - $100,000

See all original artwork by Richard Sargent



   Richard Sargent did many cover paintings for The Saturday Evening Post. His works are characterized by their good humor and insight into human frailties. He also illustrated for Fortune, Woman’s Day, American Magazine, Photoplay, and Collier’s magazine.

   Sargent, who was born in Moline, Illinois, received his art education at the Corcoran School of Art and the Philips Memorial Gallery in Washington, D.C. He also worked with Ben Shahn.

   His pictures were exhibited in many parts of the United States, including New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California, as well as abroad. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York, and for many years, lived and painted in Spain.