Artist Jack Murray: The Call of the Wild

Our cover for this issue was painted for The Saturday Evening Post in 1941 by illustrator Jack Murray. Murray is little known today, but at midcentury, his bird and dog illustrations were so popular, they were included as trading cards in Kellogg’s cereal boxes.

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Leopard
The Saturday Evening Post
August 29, 1931

Murray was a city kid who, very early in life, developed an interest in wildlife. Born in 1889, he grew up in Boston, where he began drawing animals while still in grade school. Murray would later graduate from the renowned Massachusetts School of Art, where he met his future wife, fellow artist Helena Feeny. The couple married in 1921 and, in lieu of a honeymoon, moved to New York that very day.

In New York, Murray found work as a commercial artist, which soon afforded the two of them the opportunity to buy a farm outside the city. There, he fixed up a studio where, in his spare time, he pursued his true passion, painting wildlife. Murray’s career reached a turning point when one of the paintings he had made purely for love — a majestic leopard (top) — was bought by The Saturday Evening Post.

His discovery by the Post led to assignments for the American Museum of Natural History as well as books and magazines, including The Country Gentleman and Boy’s Life. In 1947, his image of a pair of snow geese mid-flight was selected for the Federal Duck Stamp Program.

All told, Murray would paint 12 covers for the Post. His final one depicting two white wolves closing in on prey appeared on the March 8, 1941, issue — and once again on the January/February 2016 cover.

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Zebras
The Saturday Evening Post
June 25, 1932
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Polar Bear
The Saturday Evening Post
February 1, 1936
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Albino Deer
The Saturday Evening Post
January 8, 1938
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Bear and Cubs in River
The Saturday Evening Post
August 25, 1934
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Soaring Bald Eagle
The Saturday Evening Post
October 28, 1933


Covers by Jack Murray

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Comments

  1. One of my nicest Christmas presents was the day after, a couple of Saturdays ago, when the new POST arrived with those beautiful wolves on the cover by Jack Murray, accompanied by more of his cover subjects inside.

    You can feel his deep love, respect and admiration for all of these animals, to which there was a a great variety. The way they’re posed, the colors, shading are stunning and breathtaking. His work SHOULD be featured again in the POST for those reasons, and also because it’s new to today’s readers anyhow. I’m definitely going to be buying some of these at Art.com soon. More animal covers in the future would be great too, if you’re so inclined. I hope so.

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