"Child at Photographer, Saturday Evening Post Cover, Sep. 26, 1959"   Lot no. 4065

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By Kurt Ard (American, 1925-)

23.25" x 19.25"
Oil and Pencil on Paperboard
Signed 'Kurt Ard' Lower Left



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This work was published as the cover of the September 26, 1959 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.


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. A, there, little thumb-chewing black-eyed Susan on the wall!." (The Saturday Evening Post, September 26, 1959, p. 3)


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.


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 Panorama, HÖRZU, Allers, 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.


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.)




The Saturday Evening Post, September 26, 1959, cover illustration.

J. Cohn, Covers of the Saturday Evening Post: Seventy Years of Outstanding Illustration from America's Favorite Magazine, New York, 1995, p. 257, illustrated.

Explore related art collections: Motherhood / Children / Family / 1950s / $100,000 & Above / Saturday Evening Post Covers / Magazine Covers / Humor / Newly Researched

See all original artwork by Kurt Ard