December 4, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Santa Claus in Camp
Harper's Weekly cover, January 3, 1863
Exhibition made possible by:
Debra & Fred Westmoreland.
Santa Claus, as we think of him today, was popularized by the German artist Thomas Nast. Nast was a political cartoonist and illustrator who gave us the iconic versions of political party symbols and the most familiar versions of Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, along with many images still prevalent in pop culture. During the Civil War, Nast started creating images of Santa Claus that were the first to show a rotund and jolly Santa dressed in a fur-trimmed suit with a full, white beard and a sack full of toys. This exhibition examines Thomas Nast’s Santa Claus and winter scenes, along with work by his contemporaries including Winslow Homer. Visitors will see the original Harper’s Weekly covers, borrowed from the collection of Jay Williams, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Hamilton College. Professor Williams is also in the process of publishing a book on Thomas Nast.