top of page

Single sheet, original woodcut by  Thomas Nast    Sheet measures 16” X 11”,  As shown.

 

Thomas Nast, father of American political cartooning, the man who… 

Originated the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant and Tammany donkey

Gave us our present day conceptions of Uncle Sam, John Bull and Columbia

Created the Santa Claus figure from the Saint Nicholas described in Clement Moore’s night before Christmas poem

Born in Bavaria in 1840, Nast came to New York in 1846 and I had 15 became draftsman for Frank Leslie‘s illustrated weekly. He was sent to London by the New York illustrated news in 1860 and accompanied Garibaldi as an artist for the illustrated London news and La Monde Illustre in Paris. returning to New York, he continued as artist for the news during the early months of the Civil War. In the spring of 1862 he joined the staff of Harpers weekly as a war correspondent, visiting the battlefields in sending back on the scene sketches. But it was his allegorical drawings that attracted the most attention and arouse the northern patriotic fervor to such a pitch that by the wars end Thomas Nast was a nationally known figure.

It was not long before Nast became known as a cartoonist rather than in illustrator, and during the 25 years following the closing of the war, Nast cartoons express the artist views on every natural issue of political and social significance. They were, in reality, and illustrated chronicle of American history during this period. Every presidential candidate whom he supported was elected and his successful campaign in 18 7271 to depose the corrupt Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall in New York City added to his fame.

Thomas Nast is rightfully considered the father of American political cartooning, since there was no political cartoon is worthy of the name in America before him. As a result, Nast had to look to the English school of caricatures for background and technique. His style shows the influence of England’s master of caricaturist James Gillray, and of punches famous cartoonist John Leach and John Tenniel. There is little doubt that the period during which Nast did his best work offered unparalleled opportunities for a cartoonist. The issues were clearly drawn and the political figures were fitting targets for a caricaturists pencil. There was much to be against in according to Bill Malden, a leading exponent of the earth, it is in attacking rather than defending data cartoonist is most effective.

Between 1861 and 1884, Thomas Nast and Harpers weekly were recognized as bulwarks of republicanism. Largely as a result of the artist following, the weekly circulation of 100,000 increase threefold in this period. in 1879, changes in management at harpers resulted in less freedom for Nast to express his own views. A new generation of publishers did not wholly agree with what they consider the artist tendency to advocate startling and, in their opinion, sometimes radical reforms. But Nast was uncompromising when it came to presenting views other than his own. Policy, he said, strangles individuals. also, with the introduction of new techniques in reproduction, they hand engraved wood block, which Nast used to such advantage, was becoming outmoded and the new methods were less suited to his style. Consequently, NASH drawings appeared less frequently in Harpers weekly and they ceased entirely with the Christmas issue of 1886. From this time on, Nast spent most of his time painting in oil at his home in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him council general in Ecuador where six months later he died at the age of 62 of yellow fever.

Begun in the panic year of 1857, Harpers Weekly built up a vast circulation during the Civil War and became a powerful organ of public opinion. This enviable position of editorial influence was maintained until the 1920’s when it succumbed to the competition of the Sunday newspaper supplements.

The Triumph of the Weekly was its artists—men like Thomas Nast, Winslow Homer, C. A. Reinhart, E. A. Abbey, Frederick Remington, A. R. Waud, T. R. Davis, and their compeers—who contributed so much to journalistic illustration.

Up until the last years of the 19th century their pictures were either drawn directly on or transferred to blocks of boxwood. Skilled engravers would cut away all the wooden surface not covered by lines of the drawing. The printing was then done in relief directly from the resulting blocks. In order to accomplish this lengthy process speedily enough to issue the paper once a week, a large staff of engravers was employed. Full page and double page illustrations were divided into sections, each of which might be engraved by a different man. Then the sections were locked together in a form from which the entire picture was printed as a unit. The joints between the various component blocks can be seen quite clearly in many of the prints.

Santa Claus in Camp, Thomas Nast, 1/3/1863 Harpers Original

SKU: hrprxmz4
$325.00Price
    bottom of page