1878 - 1958
J. F. Kernan's artworks perfectly captured middle-class life on the covers and pages of popular magazines from the 1910s to 1940s.
His nostalgic and often humorous illustrations celebrate the simple comforts of home, family, and outdoor recreation.
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, Kernan studied at the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. Kernan then taught for two years before beginning his own career in illustration in New York City. He became a well-known artist whose credits include twenty-six covers of The Saturday Evening Post between the years 1924-1936.
Many of Kernan's own personal experiences influenced the subjects he chose to paint. Growing up in a rural town led him to illustrate numerous images of family and community life. In Kernan's "Model Ship Builder", an elderly gentleman meticulously works at one of Kernan's favorite past times, model shipbuilding.
To finance his art career, Kernan played professional baseball and had a particular interest in outdoor sports, both of which influenced his illustrations.
These experiences allowed him accurately captured minute details, what he called “the human side of outdoor sports, hunting, fishing and dogs.” His works soon graced the covers of nearly every major magazine during the 1920’s/1930’s including The Saturday Evening Post, The Country Gentleman, Outdoor Life, Collier’s Liberty, Capper’s Farmer, The Elks, and the Associated Sunday Magazines. His work was also featured on calendars and advertisements for Columbia Manilla Rope, Burger Brewing Company, Fisk Tires, and various other companies of the period.