John Falter in his studio, 1978, taken by the Philadelphia Enquirer
Nebraska native John P. Falter was a renowned illustrator and artist best known for the more than 185 Saturday Evening Post covers he produced from the 1940s to the 1960s. His work also appeared in Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Life, and Look. Falter produced illustrations for pulp magazines, three hundred World War II recruiting posters, a series of paintings of World War II heroes, numerous advertisements, and paintings depicting western migration and exploration.
After his death in 1982, Falter’s widow donated objects and furnishings from the artist’s studio, numerous paintings, and his papers to the Nebraska State Historical Society. This collection, reflecting John Falter’s career from 1930 to 1982, provides a comprehensive overview of his works and the research that went into them.
Reflecting his lifelong interest in jazz, John Falter produced scenes of Harlem nightclub life in the 1930s and portraits of famous jazz musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Pee Wee Erwin. This graphite drawing with white pigment was Falter’s study for an album cover featuring bass saxaphonist Joe Rushton
Edwin “Squirrel” Ashcraft, Jr. noted his approval of this Falter drawing in
a July 20, 1970, letter signed “Sq.,” an abbreviation for Squirrel.
Falter often worked from photographs, such as this one of Joe Rushton.