Howard Chandler Christy

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Howard Chandler Christy
Portrait of Howard Chandler Christy by Himself.jpg
Portrait of Christy, by himself
Born (1873-01-10)January 10, 1873
Died March 3, 1952(1952-03-03) (aged 79)
Occupation artist and illustrator
Years active 1890-1953
Notable work Gee I wish I were a Man I'd Join the Navy, Portrait of Dorothy Barton Thomas, Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, The Christy Girl

Howard Chandler Christy (January 10, 1873 – March 3, 1952) was an American artist and illustrator famous for the "Christy Girl", similar to a "Gibson Girl".

Education and influences[edit]

He was born in Morgan County and attended early school in Duncan Falls, Ohio. He then studied in New York at the National Academy and the Art Students League under William Merritt Chase.

He later moved to the town of New Rochelle, New York, a popular art colony among famous artists and illustrators of the period such as Frank and J. C. Leyendecker, and Norman Rockwell.[1]

Early work[edit]

Christy's painting "Halloween", 1915.

Christy first attracted attention with his realistic illustrations and several articles as a combat artist during the Spanish–American War that included the Battle of Las Guasimas, the Battle of El Caney and the Battle of San Juan Hill, published in Scribner's and Harper's magazines and in Collier's Weekly, gaining especial prominence with the series, "Men of the Army and Navy," and a portrait of Colonel Roosevelt that appeared on the cover of his Rough Riders series published in Scribner's. These illustrations propelled Christy to national prominence. He also would paint patriotic posters for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. He also came to be known for his illustrations of the works of such as the well-known war correspondent, Richard Harding Davis.

He illustrated books during this period as well.

National recognition[edit]

Howard Chandler Christy in his Studio.

Having made his reputation for his work as a combat artist and in support of America's World War One effort, Christy soon was illustrating for numerous magazine covers. He became famous for the "Christy Girl", a picturesque and romantic type of society women peculiarly his own. His work, whether in watercolor, oils, or pen-and-ink, is characterized by great facility, a dashing but not exaggerated style and a strong sense of values. Together with fellow artists Harrison Fisher and Neysa McMein he constituted the Motion Picture Classic magazine's "Fame and Fortune" contest jury of 1921–22, who discovered the It girl, Clara Bow.[2]

In 1940, he painted the Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, which was installed in the House of Representatives wing in the United States Capitol. Some of his work, newly cleaned, is on display at The Leopard at des Artistes restaurant, the successor to the legendary New York City restaurant Café des Artistes.[3] They include six panels of wood nymphs and paintings such as The Parrot Girl, The Swing Girl, Ponce De Leon, Fall, Spring and the Fountain of Youth.[4]

Another Christy painting has been displayed at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center. The Zanesville Museum of Art in Zanesville, Ohio, has on permanent display Christy's Portrait of Dorothy Barton Thomas, with other Christy posters, prints and paintings in their collection.

In the early 1930s, he met Elise Ford who became his model for the murals on Café des Artistes wall. Forty years his junior, she became his companion until his death at age 80. They had a daughter named Holly born in 1939[5] while he was painting Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, which is now on display on the stairwell of the West Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Christy, Howard Chandler. The American Girl. New York: Moffat, Yard and Co, 1906. OCLC 732893
  • Christy, Howard Chandler, and E. Stetson Crawford. The Christy Girl. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co, 1906. OCLC 543943


  1. ^ Franklin Bowles Gallery
  2. ^ Motion Picture Classics, January, 1922.
  3. ^ Sifton, Sam (2 August 2011). "The Leopard at des Artistes". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Welcome to 1 West 67th Street" (PDF). The Leopard at des Artistes. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  5. ^ Howard Chandler Christy papers, 1873-2001. Lafayette College Special Collections & College Archives,

Further reading[edit]

  • Copley, Helen F. The Christy Quest. Tucson, Ariz: Patrice Press, 1999. ISBN 1880397307 OCLC 41497133
  • Schneider, Norris Franz. Howard Chandler Christy. Zanesville, Ohio: Schneider, 1975. OCLC 1717378


External links[edit]