"Tying on a Fly, Post Cover"   Lot no. 4400

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By Joseph Francis Kernan (American- 1878-1958)

28 1/8" x 22 3/8"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right



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The Saturday Evening Post, May 25, 1929.

While his work graced the covers and pages of many famous American magazines between the 1920s and 1940s (including 26 Saturday Evening Post covers), the name Joseph Francis Kernan is often eclipsed in comparison to better-known peers Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish. Yet, Kernan was a master of nostalgic and humorous illustrations of middle-class America and, a sportsman himself, almost always featured "the human side of outdoor sports, hunting, fishing and dogs," which were considered ideal subjects for magazines. The present work is no different in that regard, as it depicts a fly fisherman, concentrating as he is about to attach the hook to his fishing stick. Immersed in water up to his waist in a seemingly tortuous part of the river, the fisherman is not losing his cool, and seems in fact fully determined to enjoy his last smoke before some action.

Explore related art collections: Saturday Evening Post Covers / Sports / 1920s

See all original artwork by Joseph Francis Kernan



Joseph Francis Kernan was a sportsman all of his life and the majority of his subjects featured, as he described it, "the human side of outdoor sports, hunting, fishing and dogs." These were the ideal subjects for magazine covers and his work appeared on all of the major - and some minor- magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Liberty, The Country Gentlemen, Capper's Farmer, The Elks, Outdoor Life, and The Associated Sunday Magazines. His work was also commissioned for calendars, and advertisers such as Fisk Tires, International Harvester and Pratt & Lambert.

            Kernan was born in Brookline Massachusetts and studied at the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. This was financed by playing professional baseball. He also taught for two years at the Pape School before launching his art career.

            A major collection of some 450 Kernan's Illustration's spanning a career of over 40 years is held in the collection of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta Canada.