""The AAF takes care of its own," WW II Poster Illustration"   Lot no. 2975

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By Jack Wittrup (1912 - 1987)

43.00" x 34.00"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right



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World War II poster illustration. Includes the poster (22"x 30") as well. In addition, included a framed story page from Life magazine about the airmen posing for the poster, which shows the painting and the real men, as they posed.


The poster was created to promote the Army Air Forces Convalescent Training Program. The caption reads "The AAF takes care of its own"

Jack Wittrup was a well known pin up artist, but also did images such as this, as well as being a prolific artist of many advertising images of the time, including the Coca Cola Santa on the back of National Geographic (taking over after Haddon Sundblom).

Explore related art collections: Patriotic/Political / Historical / $5,000 - $20,000 / Poster Illustrations / Military/Soldiers

See all original artwork by Jack Wittrup



Jack Shilling Wittrup, the illustrator and portrait artist, was my first cousin. We have several of his original oil paintings, including the ones of his mother, his sister, and our children. He preferred to be remembered as a portrait artist, rather than an illustrator of pin-up girls! We have never seen any of his work signed "John Shilling", but it is possible that he did this.

Jack Wittrup, born October 16, 1912, began his artistic career at age 11, when he began selling editorial cartoons to newspapers in his hometown of Chicago.

He received his art education at the Chicago Art Institute, the American Academy of Art, the Chicago Academy of Art and the University of Wisconsin.From the University of Wisconsin he was called into the Army Air Force, where he was stationed in New York City and Santa Fe, NM. In New York he painted posters for Uncle Sam and in Santa Fe, NM he painted morale-boosting posters at the Army Air Force Hospital rehabilitation and convalescent center for recovering war victims.

From there he established an Advertising Art Studio with a partner in New York City and had many successful years illustrating for Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Royal Crown Cola, Jell-O, and car companies, including Ford and Chrysler, to name a few. It was during this time that he became well known for his Coca Cola Santa Claus, after Haddon Sundbloom no longer was contracted to do this work. The Coca Cola Santas on the back cover of the National Geographic magazines starting in the mid 1950s were Jack's. He won many awards and prizes. Then along came television.That was the time Jack fulfilled his long desire to become only a fine artist and established a residence in Boca Raton, Florida. He quickly established himself as a leading portrait painter throughout the United States, and had one-man shows in New York, Palm Beach, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago and Santa Fe.

Jack Wittrup was commended by the Senate of the State of Florida, for his distinguished achievements in the field of art and for his outstanding contribution to the cultural enrichment of the people of the state.

Jack was also an instructor at the Norton Gallery of Art, Boca Museum of Art and Broward Art School.He was married to the late Bea West who had her own business and studio and was well known throughout the United States for coordinating colors among the home furnishings industries.

Jack Shilling Wittrup died September 2, 1987.



The following biography has been provided by James Shilling of Knox, Indiana: (Via Askart.com)