Harper’s Santa

120 years ago, this Santa Claus adorned the front cover of Harper’s Weekly. The artist opted to forego the traditional red suit and replace it with one that is more orange than red. Instead of a button-down jacket, this Santa is wearing a more caped-like, flowing garment. A big smile and a flowing white beard remove any doubt that this is indeed a Santa Claus drawing.


The artist was Edward Penfield (1866-1925). Penfield is seen by many as the father of the advertising poster. He was known for using limited details and large shapes to ensure the work could be easily seen. In the highly competitive world of magazine sales, his covers were designed to stand out when displayed in newsstands.


This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.