The biography at swoyersart.com tells us that Howard Terpning began his commercial art career in Chicago as a member of the famous "Sundblom Circle." This early sample by Terpning certainly suggests he was learning his painting technique from Haddon Sundblom (creator of the famous Coca-Cola Santa Claus).
After finishing his apprenticeship with Sunny, Terpning "moved to Milwaukee, where for three years he painted such subjects as farmers on tractors." Feeling he was finally ready to try his luck in the illustration mecca of New York, he signed on with Stephens, Biondi, De Cicco - the same art studio for whom Lucia Larner worked. Terpning spent five years perfecting his painting technique on mostly advertising art assignments.
Although it's not mentioned in any of the online biographies I read, I have it on good authority that Terpning's next studio was Fredman-Chaite, another New York art studio I presented many posts about just a couple of months ago.
Since we don't have an accurate chronology of this period in Howard Terpning's career, the 1959 ad below may have been done while he was at either SBD or F/C.
Only the barely visible initialed "H.T." verifies that this Orange Crush ad is Howard Terpning's work...
... but that same year (1960) in an ad for McGregor men's fashions, you can see Terpning beginning to explore the distinctive, energetic painting style for which he became known and was much sought-after by clients for the next decade.
Here, for your enjoyment and inspiration, are some more 1960s advertising illustrations by Howard Terpning:
(Worth noting: Terpning seemed to have inherited the Dobbs Hats account from Bob Peak, another Fredman-Chaite Studio member)
Just look at all the dynamic painting details in the background elements of this ad!
Two from 1967...
... and a whole series which I'm guessing are from around 1970.
Now scroll back to the top and marvel at how Terpning's style evolved!
* Thanks to Harold Henriksen and Aron Gagliano of the American Academy of Art for providing most of today's scans.
Howard Terpning was a student at the AAA in Chicago during his early days before his apprenticeship with Haddon Sundblom. He was the academy's distinguished alum at graduation in 2010. Aron had a chance to meet him in person and says, "Spending time with the Terpning’s (Howard and Marlies) was just fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more gracious couple. All around inspiring people in every way."
"While Terpning was at the Academy we had a local news channel come in and do a piece on him:"
Artist Howard Terpning | Chicago Tonight | WTTW
Aron also shared a link to the trailer for a recent Howard Terpning documentary, “Portrait of a storyteller,”: