One of American's best-known illustrators, John P. Falter, was born in Plattsmouth, Nebraska in
1910 and grew up in Falls City. In addition to his famous Saturday
Evening Post covers, Falter also completed a series of works
based on his life-long interest in jazz music.
In the 1970s Falter made sketches from life at both the Colorado
Jazz Party and the Odessa (Texas) Jazz Party. The drawings from the Colorado Jazz
Party formed the basis of his 1971 "Jazz from Life"
portfolio of prints. Falter's jazz portraits successfully capture
the immediacy and vibrancy of performers in action.
For many years I have thought
about recording visually "jazz in action." -- John Falter
The musicians are enthused,
one of them saying, "John you painted me in A flat, my favorite
key." -- John Falter
Falter in his Philadelphia studio
during the 1970s
Donor: John P. Falter Collection
Falter released a folio of prints titled "Jazz from Life: Original Lithographs
of Jazz in Action" in 1971.
Based on quick "live"
sketches, the folio includes many of the prints displayed here. The artist's press release of October
23, 1971, provides the quotes that accompany these works. Falter's
own words best describe his feelings about jazz and his intentions
while creating his own "jazz recordings."
Donor: Cliff's Notes, Inc.
Why are there several versions
of the same portrait in this exhibit?
For some subjects, we are including
Falter's original drawing, a lithograph print from his "Jazz
from Life" series, and occasionally a second lithograph
print. The multiple versions allow you to compare the artist's
original quick sketch with the more finished print, noting the
differences and similarities in design and details.
Lithography is an excellent technique
to create multiple prints of a single image while still retaining
the character and feel of the original. The prints from Falter's
"Jazz from Life" series show a remarkable consistency
with his original drawings, particularly those portraits created
in pencil only.