Monday, December 14, 2009

The wonderful art of Haddon Sundblom....

Imagine a western Christmas with no jolly man in a red suit ho ho ho-ing at us in every window and at every Christmas Carols event! We owe our modern day interpretation of Santa Claus to the magical artistry of Haddon Sundblom.....never heard of him? (especially my Australian counterparts)? Well, you are sure to have seen his images gracing countless Coke Christmas advertisements at Christmas time over the years......let me tell you a little about this inspiring artist.........

Haddon was born in Michigan in 1899. His family was a mix of Swedish and Russian in heritage, and Haddon was first generation American. He studied at the American Institute of Art and began painting advertisements for the Coke a cola company in the 1930's.
It was at this time that he turned to the 1822 poem "The night before Christmas' for inspiration for a Christmas advertisement, creating his interpretation of 'jolly old St Nick'. Sundblom based the rosey faced, beaming Santa on himself, and fitted his atire and merriment to the poetic description. For the next 33 years, he painted many many portraits of Santa that have etched themselves into popular culture.

Haddon was also a revered glamour and pin up artist, inspiring the likes of Gil Elvgren and Joyce Ballentine.His many stunning vintage pin up images were used in advertising, calandars and Playboy magazine. Haddon passed away in 1976 leaving what would have to be the most recognisable image in all popular culture, Santa Claus himself


  1. What a wonderful post. His artwork is gorgeous, isn't it? xx

  2. Hi Kesenya!
    I met you at the Melbourne Lindy Charm School. Sorry it's taken so long for me to contact you. Here's the address of my food blog I have with my friend Anna
    You're blog is great, I've been reading it all morning!
    Camila x

  3. I just love visiting your blog! It always takes me back in time. I'm impressed by the way you stick to your theme and how you gathered all these pictures and thoughts. You are extraordinary!
    Funny, I think of you as Alice Jean. I have to remind myself that your name is Kesenya! Lovely name, too!

  4. Ruth - thankyou so much for your lovely kind have made me smile from ear to ear today !

  5. Hi Kesenya, Thanks so much for visiting my blog recently and for your lovely comment. Great post, Gil Elvgren is my favourite! Have a lovely Christmas! TVK x

  6. Hello there, Love your site. Would love it if you looked at my blog.
    Cheers Vintage Vixen

  7. Hi there:

    I would like to know if the Sundblom style has any name, I mean, for example the pinup style its about pretty decent gurls in erotic and nice situations.

    Or the manga style caractrized for the big eyes and blue , red , pink hair.

    Im looking for art similar to Sundblom´s art, but doesnt know the name of the style.

    do you know it?

    Hello From México and excuse my terrible english


  8. "His family was a mix of Swedish and Russian in heritage, and Haddon was first generation American."

    Actually, both his parents were Swedish. His father was born in the then Russian territory of Åland islands, though, which may explain the misconception. Åland islands, a vast archipelao, is today an autonomous Swedish speaking part of Finland located between mainland Sweden and mainland Finland.


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