Frances Tipton Hunter (1896-1957)ARTIST GALLERY
No Money for Her Soda
Frances Tipton Hunter was an important American illustrationist whose formative career spanned the years from 1920 to the late 1950ís. Born in Howard, Centre County, Pennsylvania, in 1896, her life was fairly predicable until at the tender age of six she suffered a life altering tragedy with the death of her mother. It was decided that she would live with her Aunt and Uncle, and so she moved to Louisa Street in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Although we are only given hints of this early life, it seems apparent that this loss would have a lasting impact on her artist perspective throughout her life.
Hunterís artistic talent was first revealed during her high school years. After graduating from Williamsport High School in 1914, she moved to Philadelphia. Frances was a bright student who embraced the opportunities afforded her with enthusiasm and discipline. She first developed her artistic flair at the Philadelphia Museum of Industrial Arts where she would graduate with honors. Continuing to excel, she took her talent from a general knowledge to a more refined application by completing course work at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Fleisher Art Memorial, again matriculating with honors. With the assistance of an art scholarship she moved to New York where she first found work illustrating childrenís fashion for department stores.
Many women illustrators of this era chose children and their pets as a general subject matter and Francis was no exception. Hunterís illustrations began to appear in Womanís Home Companion, Collierís, Liberty, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. She was recognized through her advertisements, puzzles, and calendar art. In the early 1920ís Hunter created a series of paper dolls that first appeared in Ladies Home Journal. Hunterís dolls created such a following that six beguiling youngsters would find their way on a regular basis into the publication. So successful was this series, that the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin published The Frances Tipton Picture Book, which featured 20 color and 12 black and white illustrations of children and their pets, accompanied by verses and stories by Marjorie Barrows. The popularity of this book inspired the publication of a compendium of her doll artwork, Frances Tipton Hunterís Paper Dolls.
Francis Tipton Hunterís first Saturday Evening Post cover appeared on June 6, 1936 and was entitled ďNo Money for Her SodaĒ. It becomes evident when perusing Frances Tipton Hunterís work, that she preferred painting the idealized portion of a childís existence. Many of her ďchildrenĒ in fact have the same open, broad face and reflective eyes as the artist herself. Francis patiently interprets the subtle nuances of a childís daily life, and managed to capture the many moods of childhood from the joys of summer, the playfulness of puppies, the wonder of nature, the magic of Christmas, and oh- - - the horrors and humiliation of wearing wooly underwear as sensed in The Post cover of February 27, 1937. In all Hunter contributed eighteen covers to The Saturday Evening Post beginning in the mid-thirties and ending in the early forties. It was her work for The Saturday Evening Post that elevated her stature to one of the top female illustrators of her time.