Joseph Francis Kernan
1878-1958 | American
The Country Gentleman cover, February 16, 1924
Signed "J.F. Kernan" (upper left)
Oil on board
Cheekily entitled Hair Restorer, this oil was composed by the great American Illustrator Joseph Francis Kernan. Nostalgic and often humorous, Kernan's illustrations are a celebration of the simple comforts of home, family and community. This example, which captures a wife humoring her husband while he pursues a fuller head of hair, is exemplary of his highly popular output. Displaying the artist's preferred middle-class subjects, the scene was featured on the February 16, 1924, cover of The Country Gentleman, a widely-read agricultural magazine from the early 20th century. It particularly reveals the similarity of his illustrations to those of Norman Rockwell, who possessed a similar ability to weave an entire narrative in a single composition.
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1878, Joseph Francis Kernan played professional baseball before he pursued a career as an artist. In fact, he used to his earnings from his career in sports to finance his studies at the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. Soon, he became a well-known artist whose works appeared on the covers of nearly every major magazine in the early 20th century, including Country Gentleman, Outdoor Life, Collier’s, Capper’s Farmer and the Saturday Evening Post. During his over 40-year long career, he also created illustrations for calendars and advertisements of the period. Today, he is celebrated among the great illustrators of the Golden Age of American Illustration.
Canvas: 28" high x 24" wide
Frame: 34" high x 30" wide