The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by John Philip Falter

  • This charming gouache was composed by the great illustrator John Philip Falter
  • The work served as a jacket illustration for Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • It captures one of the book's most popular scenes, Tom whitewashing the fence
  • Falter's remarkable talent for nuance and narrative is fully on display in the piece
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-3529

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John Philip Falter
1910-1982 | American 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Initialed "JF” (lower left)
Gouache on board

This charming gouache was composed by the great illustrator John Philip Falter as a jacket illustration for a 1966 edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain's first novel about Tom and Huck. One of the world's best-loved books, the story features a well-known scene wherein Tom is tasked by his Aunt Polly to whitewash their fence. Rather than complete the job himself, he enlists other neighborhood boys to do the work for him. Falter ingeniously captured the unfinished fence in this work — Tom has presumably left to recruit his new workers — a compositional choice that allows the viewer to imagine the well-known narrative themselves. Called "America's most gifted illustrator" by the famed Norman Rockwell, Falter's remarkable talent for nuance and narrative is fully on display in this appropriate accompaniment to one of America's most beloved children's tales.

Born in Nebraska in 1910, Falter showed an early talent for illustration as a young cartoonist in high school. He honed his craft at the Kansas City Art Institute, and in the 1930s, he earned his first important commissions producing work for advertising firms. Falter's first Saturday Evening Post cover, a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, the publication's founder, was featured on the September 1, 1943 edition. It was to begin a 25-year long relationship between the Post and the artist, who produced over 120 covers for the publication in all.

Painted in 1966

Board: 8 1/4" high x 16 1/4" wide
Frame: 15" high x 22 3/4" wide

Provenance:
The artist
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth J. Stuart, Sr., gift from the above
Private collection
M.S. Rau, New Orleans
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by John Philip Falter
Maker: Falter, John Philip
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: America
Type: Paintings
Depth: 1.0 Inches
Width: 22.75 Inches
Height: 15.0 Inches
Style: Illustration
Canvas Width: 16.25 Inches
Canvas Height: 8.25 Inches

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