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1917 recruiting poster for the United States Navy

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States

Christy's painting "Halloween"

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". 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.

Early work

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 Cristy 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.

National recognition

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.[1]

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 The Leopard at des Artistes restaurant, the successor to the legendary New York City restaurant Café des Artistes.[2] 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.[3]

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 1933 he met Elise Ford who became his model for the murals on Cafe 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[4] 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 US Capitol Building.


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

External links

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