was born 14 September, 1867, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He was educated
at Flushing High School and continued his training at the Art Students'
League, New York. Gibson studied with Augustus Saint Gaudens and
attended Julian's in Paris. His first cartoon appeared in the 25
March 1886 issue of Life. From that time, Gibson's cartoons
appeared frequently in Life, Tid-Bits, and Time,
and occasionally in Puck.
drawings chronicled American high society in New York and Boston,
where old aristocratic families mingled with each other at the exclusion
of newcomers. While Gibson's subjects were mostly American, he visited
Europe and drew Paris and London society as well. His drawings were
done on a large scale which was greatly reduced. This gave a superb
fineness and finish to the final printed image.
popularity of Gibson's cartoons created a national sensation which
drew many imitators. They also dictated the fashions and manners
of a generation. Men sporting beards were suddenly out, as Gibson's
depiction of the 'ideal beau' was clean shaven. His cartoons today
represent what Gibson's contemporaries thought, how they behaved,
and what the social conventions of the time were.
the early 1890s, Gibson began to draw what would become his most
famous creation, the Gibson Girl. She was tall, athletic, and beautiful.
The Gibson Girl epitomized the characteristics of the ideal turn-of-the-century
American woman and fulfilled American society's need for an aristocracy
of their own. This creation first appearing in the book Drawings
and was an immediate success. Images of the Gibson Girl appeared
on dishes, pillows, shirtwaists, shoes, dressing-table sets, folio
books, and even wallpaper.
died of myocarditis at his home in New York, 23 December, 1944.
Maurice, ed. The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons. 2d ed. Philadelphia:
Chelsea House Publishers, 1999.
Simon. The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists,
1800-1914. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Company, 1978.
Steven E., Catherine A. Hastedt, and Donald H. Dyal, eds. Dictionary
of Literary Biography. Vol. 188, American Book and Magazine
Illustrators to 1920. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1998.