Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two Sundblom Santas... and One Imposter

What is it about Haddon Sundblom's Santas? You just never get tired of them!But it would seem that Coke did - at least briefly - because this 1957 Santa (below) looks to be an effort to contemporize the Coke Santa, if only a little bit. The style, though still painterly, is more like something a Cooper Studio artist would do than anyone in the Sundblom Circle.

Well, I ain't buyin', and it looks like the public didn't either.Sundblom's Santa was back on the job as we can see in this 1959 ad. You don't mess with success!
* You can check out these images at full size in my Beverage Ads Flickr set.


  1. John Y.10:53 AM

    Sunbloom's painting technique is 'buttery' & painted with an economy of big perfect brush strokes. The same goes for Elvgren. I've seen plenty of his originals & each brush stroke defines something important. Looks easy but just try to duplicate it! There's nothing really wrong with the 'pretender' Santa... it's just not pure!

  2. Shawn Richter10:57 AM

    None of those Santas have teeth! I wonder if there is a connection to all the soda drinking...

    Seriously though, this is a great list! I just wanted to say thanks for sending me the one email I'm ALWAYS looking forward to every morning!

  3. john y. - "buttery" is the perfect word for it... and how lucky for you to have seen Sundblom's originals! I'm Christmas green with envy. ;-)

    shawn - thanks for your comment - it made my day!

  4. I remember one year the ROM had a show of Sundblom's Coke paintings, apparently one of the only times that these paintings were outside of Coke headquarters (Atlanta) let alone the US. And yes, "buttery" indeed. The man could paint!

  5. Leif, your survey of Santas really demonstrates what a difference that "buttery" effect makes. Both illustrators are technically acomplished, both use a realistic approach, both are painting the same subject with the same colors at the same size for the same client. Yet, Sundblom's "spark" adds magic and personality to the figures. Your imposter paints with all the accuracy and precision of a Steven Dohanos. He must have worked like a dog. But what a difference that spark makes!

  6. A little bit offtopic but today I saw a link for J C Leyendecker' cover for Saturday Evening Post with Santa Claus, along with a study for it.
    I thought it would be appropriate to show it here,jc_studies.htm

  7. The link is cut so I will put it again:

    Feel free to delete the post if it is not appropriate

  8. Nothing could be more appropriate, mir - thanks for the link! :-)