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Howard Chandler Christy was one of America’s most distinguished illustrators, whose work, like that of Norman Rockwell, successfully captured the pulse of the nation.
Christy’s career was established when he worked for Scribner’s and Leslie’s Weekly doing illustrations of American troops in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After that, he was most sought after for his sumptuous, lush portraits of women, although he also painted other notables that included President Calvin Coolidge, General Douglas MacArthur, Eddie Rickenbacker, Amelia Earhart, Herbert Hoover, and Benito Mussolini. He was also a muralist and much sought after teacher, giving classes in New York City at Cooper Union, the Chase School, the New York School of Art, and the Art Students League.
He worked for Scribner’s Magazine as an illustrator for a number of years beginning in 1898. In addition to illustrating articles and stories, he traveled to Cuba and Puerto Rico and sent back illustrations of Spanish-American War activity. It was through this work as a commercial artist that he became a nationally known illustrator.
After his return to the United States, he taught for a brief time in New York; however, he soon returned to his hometown of Duncan Falls. There, he built a studio and summer home and divided his time between painting and entertaining visiting authors and publishers. While living in Ohio, he became famous for his stylized depictions of women, popularly known as “Christy Girls.” These illustrations appeared in many publications and print art, and were eventually used on recruitment posters for World War I.
By 1915, he had returned once again to New York City and soon took up portrait painting. Later in life, Christy began painting large historical murals. His most famous of these large compositions, The Signing of the Constitution of the United States, is located above the grand staircase in The Capitol in Washington, D.C.