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Classic Covers: Artist Eugene Iverd’s World of Children

Published: March 25, 2011

Artist Eugene Iverd (1893-1936) came to light in the golden age of illustration that embraced the likes of J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell. He mostly painted children, and his Saturday Evening Post covers are a treat to be savored.

Daydreaming accordionist – March 13, 1926

Daydreaming_Accordionist March 13, 1926

Daydreaming Accordionist
March 13, 1926

In 1926 a young Eugene Iverd wrote an ecstatic letter to his mother. “I can’t wait another moment. I must tell you the good news.” He had sent 4 paintings to The Saturday Evening Post and they were interested! Mr. Martin, a managing editor, even visited the artist personally. This daydreaming young man serenading his movie idols was the first Iverd Post cover.

Boy Botanist – August 27, 1932 – Eugene Iverd

Boy Botanist August 27, 1932

Boy Botanist
August 27, 1932

Letter to Mom, continued: “P.S. Oh! Yes! I must tell you this. (Mr. Martin) said Chief Editor Mr. Lorimer said, ‘Who is this man Iverd? Why haven’t we seen some of his work before?’” This beautiful 1932 cover with wonderful colors is a prime example of what Post editors discovered in this artist. This budding entomologist is collecting, studying and noting every find. In his short life (he died at age 43), Iverd did numerous magazine covers, 29 of them for the Post. The one below has similar pastel tones.

Boy and Dog in Nature – June 11, 1932 – Eugene Iverd

Boy and Dog in Nature - June 11, 1932

Boy and Dog in Nature
June 11, 1932

These two covers would go beautifully together, framed and hung in a special place. This one has a timeless Rockwellian feel. Growing up in Waseca, Minnesota, Iverd “showed incredibly early talent and drew constantly and on anything,” his granddaughter, Lyn Farquhar, told us in a 2001 e-mail. “He drew many pictures on the blank pages of hymnals n the Lutheran Church attended by the family. Many of these later became treasured keepsakes by town citizens. His artistry was supported by his mother but frowned upon by his father.”

Snow Shoveler – January, 3 1931- Eugene Iverd

Snow Shoveler January 3, 1931

Snow Shoveler
January 3, 1931

An industrious young man (and little furry helper) is ringing doorbells to turn a snowfall into a financial opportunity. It’s from 1931, but it could be a drawing of last winter. Some things never change.

Lighting the Pumpkin – November 3, 1934 – Eugene Iverd

Lighting the Pumpkin - November 3, 1934

Lighting the Pumpkin
November 3, 1934

1934 was a pivotal year for the Great Depression. Unemployment was still high, but we seemed to be turning a corner. FDR was the American president and the political rumblings in Europe were much scarier than a creepy jack-o-lantern. This colorful scene of two trick-or-treaters is a Halloween favorite. I love the use of color against the background of dark houses with twinkling lights.

Children on swing – June 22, 1935 – Eugene Iverd

Children on swing - June 22, 35

Children on swing

Iverd was an art teacher in Erie, Pennsylvania, so he knew something about children. This fun cover from 1935 was one of his last. Sadly, he died in 1936 of pneumonia. “Antibiotics, which could easily have saved him,” wrote his granddaughter, “were not available until the following year.” He was only able to spend three years as a full-time artist, “yet he published over 60 magazine covers, and over 150 advertisements, story illustrations, calendars, lithographs,” wrote Ms. Farquhar. “His productivity still astounds me.”

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  • Arthur Smith

    I have a print of a picture by Iverd (have only just discovered who he is) of a boy and dog sitting on a grassy hill. The boy is whittling a stick with his pen knife and a straw hat with a feather in it is beside him. This picture has been in my family as long as I can remember, my sisters used to say the boy looked like me as a boy. Can you tell me anything about this picture and where the original is.

  • James (Jim) Kelly

    Artist Eugene Iverd here-to-for was unknown to me. Thanks much for re-exposing him.

    “The Saturday Evening Post” has done a lot of good for the world. Keep on going on.