These first jokers are Santa Claus jokers that use art work from two influential Twentieth Century American artists. One is widely known: Norman Rockwell.
The other might be even more influential but he is largely unknown: Haddon Sundblom.
Haddon affects how you (and how most of the world) thinks about Santa Claus...READ ON!
|Rockwell and Sundboom Christmas Jokers front and back|
One set featuring the widely celebrated Normal Rockwell, are published by Curtis Publishing. They usually feature Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations of Christmas themes on the front and back. Curtis was the publisher of many magazines in the 1900s including the Saturday Evening Post. Curtis is now largely a licensing company with Norman Rockwell's images as their primary asset.
Intermingled with Norman Rockwell imagery is artwork by the less famous but also very influential artist called Haddon Sundblom.
For Coca Cola, one of his big series, he did an art series that defined the modern Santa as human, jolly, and tubby. These images are on the back of the cards in color and repeated in black and white on the joker. Prior to that, images of Saint Nick widely varied and could treat him as an old testament type, a supernatural being, or in many other ways.
Wikipedia says: According to the Coca-Cola company: "For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (commonly called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"). Moore's description of St. Nick led to an image of Santa that was warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human. For the next 33 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa that helped to create the modern image of Santa – an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world."
The next two are from a Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer deck published by Aquarius products (printed in China)
Next there are some annoying elves carefully filling the gift stockings with pieces of coal.
Next, a crazy juggling Santa.
“A serious Santa with really big teeth.” Well, that’s what I thought he was for years. In late 2020, I learned that this is Sam Cooper, an important historical and intellectual American for whom the Cooper Union is named. He’s now in the American people section.
The match to the juggling Santa, this is the snoozing Santa.
Dickens: Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol.
Typical modern Santa (did you know that this image is largely due to an American artist called Haddon Sandblom? Have you been paying attention?)
And now some angels and cherub jokers who now have their own subsection!
And a Snowman.
Here are the Christmas pages, all artistically balanced. It starts with two and a half pages of artwork by Norman Rockwell and Haddon Sundblom. These will soon be organized into a Coca Cola, History of Santa Claus, subsection.
One note for those of you who actually look at the backs and try to match them up to the fronts just above. Be aware that they are sort of reversed so the back of the joker above on the top left is shown below in the top right. Confused? Think about it. Imagine a page of nine cards being flipped to show the back.
Ho Ho Ho, Have a Merry Christmas all of you and may all of your joker dreams be realized....
Want to know what to look at next?
How about some fine art jokers?