Wednesday Art: Haddon Sundblom

Artist: Haddon Sundblom
Born in the USA to Swedish parents

Haddon Sundblom is best know for creating Santa Claus and thanks to Coco Cola, making Santa famous. However Sundblom was much more than the creator of Santa Claus, he was a commercial artist and quite diverse in his artist skills as you will see by these examples.  If you aren't fond of Santa, you might like the art he did for Brewers Foundation (Beer) and Cream of Wheat cereal. 

Though Sundblom was not the first artist to create an image of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola advertising, Haddon Sundblom’s version became the standard for other Santa renditions and is the most-enduring and widespread depiction of the holiday icon to this day.  This was the first time we see a man wearing a red suit looking jolly.

Sundblom initially modeled Santa’s smiling face after the cheerful looks of a friend, retired salesman Lou Prentiss. “He embodied all the features and spirit of Santa Claus,” Sundblom said. “The wrinkles in his face were happy wrinkles.” After Prentiss passed away, Sundblom used his own face as the ongoing reference for painting the now-enduring, modern image of Santa Claus.
In 1951, Sundblom captured the Coca-Cola Santa “making his list and checking it twice.” However, the ads did not acknowledge that bad children existed and showed pages of good boys and girls only.
According to the Coca Cola company: "For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (commonly called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"). Moore's description of St. Nick led to an image of Santa that was warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human. For the next 33 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa that helped to create the modern image of Santa -- an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world."
The following five paintings (within the "Home life in America series") by Sundblom (which I must admit I quite like), are beer advertisements for Brewers Foundation. However if you don't look too hard, or I hadn't told you they were ads, you might in fact miss the beer in each painting and enjoy them for what they are paintings.
"Love at first sight"
"Getting ready"
"Preview of wedding presents", 1953
"Rules n Regulations" - Cream of Wheat advertisement - a porridge type cereal invented in 1893
"How little she really understood herself" - Cream of Wheat advertisement
"yes, your baby is growing up - Cream of Wheat advertisement
Now rule 1# 30 000 schools - Cream of Wheat advertisement

Warning - if you do decided to google this artist, I would suggest you do not do it around the children as he also painted nude women. 



  1. INteresting. Thanks once again, JO.

  2. Thanks for the warning..I was getting ready to call mine in to learn more

    These are just wonderful...I loved everyone of them..thanks for sharing, I so enjoy your art post!

  3. janette - whilst most his art is fine, he also did paintings for Playboy. There is a Coco-cola site that tells the story of his santa paintings.

  4. The artwork is very cartoon like isn't it! I love the last two in your post. Merry Christmas Jo, thanks for all your encouraging posts throughout 2011. xxx

  5. I like the non-santa ones... It's too bad some of them were used for beer, they look so cosy with the families in them!! :P

  6. Beautiful - I love his work! THANK YOU!


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