Christmas Cards by Northwest Artists: 1909-1990

For most of the 20th century, many regional artists created original works of art to send to their fellow artists, friends and families to celebrate the Holiday Season. The cards were created using relief printmaking such as woodcut and linoleum blocks as well as watercolor, oil, collage and other materials.

Our exhibition included examples by many familiar figures as well as some creative individuals now forgotten by time. The earliest card was a 1909 watercolor by John Davidson Butler (1890-1976), given to his parents the same year that he exhibited his paintings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. This card stands in sharp contrast to the unconventional and somewhat bizarre foldout produced by the iconoclastic Seattle architect Robert Reichert (1921-1996) nearly fifty years later. Many of the cards reflected the era in which they were created. Most notable is the 1952 Charles W. Smith (1922-2009) image of a tired Santa, resting in a Hardoy chair with a Calder-like mobile hanging above.

The artists often included elements from their chosen fields. These can be seen in the whimsical cards of jewelry designer Coralynn Pence (1909- 1994) and the wood veneer cards of furniture designer/craftsman, Evert Sodergren (1920-2013).

George Tsutakawa (1910-1997) tenderly documented his growing family over the years while Orre Nobles (1894-1967) produced extraordinary images with the assistance of his students from Ballard High School.

Some of the most striking cards were created by William J.C. Klamm (1888-1976) who utilized the exacting medium of wood-engraving to produce visually appealing images for over five decades.

  • November 12, 2016 - January 10, 2017