Exhibition - The Spirit of Giving Illustrated

Exhibition - The Spirit of Giving Illustrated

Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm


This holiday season, classic Rockwell artworks from our permanent collection will feature his 1923 Christmas Trio, a bundled-up group of Dickensian carolers and musicians giving the gift of music, and Christmas Homecoming, a festive family scene brimming with smiles, will be joined by never-before-exhibited images from two private collections.

Visitors will enjoy their encounter with Sprite Boy, who offers up a chilled bottle of Coke. This impish elfin figure adorned with a bottle cap was developed in 1942 by Chicago artist Haddon Sundblom. Known for his ebullient Coca-Cola Santa, Sundblom took inspiration from Clement Moore’s famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” when creating his bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked icon, which was emulated by Rockwell and many other published artists. A heartwarming vision of Santa quietly filling the stocking of a sleeping child by beloved nineteenth century author/illustrator Kate Greenaway will be on view along with Harold Anderson’s department store Santa, who embodies the spirit of giving by sharing his sandwich with a hungry dog on a cold winter’s day.


Kate Greenaway was born in Hoxton, London on March 17, 1846 to John and Elizabeth Greenaway, a woodblock printer and seamstress who were determined to give their offspring better childhoods than they had. Though both parents worked hard to provide for their children, the Greenaway family did fall on hard times, which forced them to move from place to place while Kate was young. Many people characterized Kate as an “odd” child, who differed from her siblings in that she spent a great deal of time using her imagination, to escape the stresses of her childhood. Kate is frequently quoted as saying, “I had such a very happy time when I was a child, and curiously, was so very much happier than my brother and sister, with exactly the same surroundings. I suppose my imaginary life made me one long continuous joy—filled everything with a strange wonder and beauty.”  Learn more…

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art (formerly The Chase School of Art). Two years later, in 1910, he left high school to study art at The National Academy of Design. He soon transferred to The Art Students League, where he studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman. Fogarty’s instruction in illustration prepared Rockwell for his first commercial commissions. From Bridgman, Rockwell learned the technical skills on which he relied throughout his long career. Learn more…

The son of Scandinavian immigrants, Haddon Sundblom is best known for his illustrations of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola advertisements. He illustrated Coke’s Santa from 1931 to 1964, though Sundblom’s Santa is so entwined with Christmas and Coke, the company continues to use his paintings to promote their product. So important was the relationship between Sundblom and Coca-Cola that his version of Santa remains the most recognizable.  Learn more…

Date: November 16, 2019 through February 9, 2020