Haddon Sunny Sundblom
(1899 - 1976)
Haddon (Sunny) Hubbard Sundblom was active/lived in Illinois, Michigan. Haddon Sunny Sundblom is known for magazine and commercial illustration.
Haddon (Sunny) Sundblom
Biography from the Archives of askART
Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Haddon Sundblom, whom his friends called
"Sunny", became one of the most prominent American illustrators of the
early 20th century and dominated that field in Chicago beginning in the
1920s. The original firm was Sundblom and Anderson and was
located at 840 North Michigan Avenue before a move to 510 North
Dearborn and then to Ontario Street with the name Sundblom, Johnston,
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He created many images that became famous for Coco Cola such as their
annual Santa Claus figure for which he sometimes used himself as the
model. Other clients were Colgate, Maxwell House, Proctor and
Gamble, etc. Voluptuous women, action figures, and bright, contrasting
colors were a specialty.
In 1925, he formed his own teaching
studio with Howard Stevens and Edwin Henry, and many of their students
including Howard Terpning became well-known illustrators.
Sundblom credited Anders Zorn and John Singer Sargent as major influences.
left school to work at the age of thirteen when his mother died, and
took night classes and correspondence courses for many years to
complete his education. He also studied at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art. In 1987, he was
elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.
From the late 1940s until 1954, he spent several of the winter months
in Tucson, Arizona. One of his associates, Charles R. Showalter,
reported that the paintings Sundblom sent back to the studio had "too
much yellow" and that Sundblom "had trouble with the light in
Of Sundblom's reported alcoholism, Showalter said that
he did not drink on the job, but when he finished a painting, "he would
go on a two-day bender, then come into the studio in a wrinkled suit
coat, wash up, and get to work". He also reported that Sundblom
painted fast, and ever instructed his students to 'loosen up' with
their painting. His workers were instructed to strive for the
look of having been done fast, even though it might take many
Showalter had a very positive impression of his
boss: "Sunny was terrific with all the artists that went through
there. He gave everybody a real boost." (Olsen) Showalter
also recalled that during the Depression, Sundblom was offered stock in
Coco-Cola as a substitute for payment for work, but he declined saying
that it was more important for his staff to be paid.
Walt Reed, The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000
Robert E. Olsen, "The Rediscovery of Charles R. Showalter", Illustration, Spring 2006, pp. 25-51
John F. Showalter, "The Life and Art of Charles R. Showalter", Illustration, Spring, 2006, pp. 53-62
Peter Hastings Falk (editor), Who Was Who in American Art
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