Pruett Carter

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Pruett Carter
Born 1891
Died 1955
Nationality American
  • Art Students' League of Los Angeles
  • Robert Henri in New York
Known for Illustrator
Elected Hall of Fame, Society of Illustrators

Pruett Carter (1891–1955)[1] was an American illustrator who taught at the Grand Central Art School and Chouinard Art Institute. He illustrated national magazines and was art director for Atlanta Journal and Good Housekeeping. Carter was inducted into the Society of Illustrator's Hall of Fame in 1988.

Early life and education

Carter was born in 1891[2] in Missouri. He grew up in Wyoming on an Indian Reservation.[3] He graduated from the Los Angeles High School.[4] Carter then studied art in Los Angeles[2] at the Art Students' League,[3] After completing his education in California, Carter studied in New York under Robert Henri.[4] His and Rex Slinkard's works where exhibited at the League in 1910. A critic for the Los Angeles Times stated, "For the present, instructors of the ASL of LA are pupils of Robert Henri of NY - and you know what that means! You know, at once, that they are strictly up-to-date in their artistic ideas, that they are the most modern of the moderns, and that they are smashing academic traditions with every vigorous stroke of charcoal stick or paintbrush."[4]


Carter taught illustration at the Grand Central Art School[5] with N. C. Wyeth and Harvey Dunn. His students included Lawrence Nelson Wilbur[6] and Perle Fine.[7] He also taught in Los Angeles at Chouinard Art Institute,[5] and was head of the Illustration department.[4]

His illustrations appeared in Life,[8][9] Good Housekeeping,[10] McCall's , Ladies' Home Journal, The American Magazine, and Woman's Home Companion. He was art director at Atlanta Journal and Good Housekeeping.[5] Carter was an adept illustrator at the magazine publishing industry, including women's magazines, and anticipated and adjusted his approach as the market changed.[5] Initially, Carter made Impressionist works, like that of Walter Biggs.[5] He stated, "The illustrator's first function is a problem of composition, of pattern, of design - including the rich contrast of the illustration itself with the type matter and headlines of the story... the illustrator may be likened to the director of a motion picture...He must live the part of each actor. He must do the scenery, design the costumes, and handle the lighting effects." He had adapted a modern style that focused on decoration and page design by the 1950s.[5] He exhibited his works in California.[2]

In 1988, Carter was inducted into the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame.[11]

Personal life

Carter married a woman named Theresa, and had a son named Deal about 1920.[2] During his adult life he lived on the East Coast of the United States until about 1930, when he moved to California. He lived in Studio City, Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.[2] About December 1, 1955, Carter killed his son, who was a writer and was handicapped from birth,[12] and wife while they were sleeping and then killed himself. Carter, who had been emotionally upset about selling the family house and an upcoming move to Carolltown, Georgia, was found in his son's bedroom with a .45 revolver.[2][13]


  1. Heritage Auctions, Inc. (January 1, 2009). Heritage Auctions Illustration Art Auction Catalog #7005, Dallas, TX. Heritage Capital Corporation. pp. 57, 58, 150. ISBN 978-1-59967-342-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Artist Kills Wife, Son, Self". The San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino, California. December 2, 1955. p. 1. Retrieved April 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Good Housekeeping. Hearst Corporation. 1921. p. 12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-1953". Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. Retrieved April 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Frederic B. Taraba. "Pruett Carter". Illustration House. Retrieved April 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Castagno, John (August 16, 2010). Jewish Artists: Signatures and Monograms. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 504. ISBN 978-0-8108-7421-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Perle Fine; Christine A. Berry; Lisa N. Peters (January 1, 2011). Perle Fine: The Cool Series. Spanierman Gallery LLC. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-935617-13-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Inc, Time (September 12, 1955). LIFE. Time Inc. p. 135. ISSN 0024-3019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Inc, Time (March 19, 1956). LIFE. Time Inc. p. 62. ISSN 0024-3019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Good Housekeeping. C.W. Bryan & Company. May 1920. pp. 20–23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Hall of Fame Past Inductees". Society of Illustrators. April 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Noted Artist Kills Wife, Son, Self". Mirror News. San Bernardino, California. December 2, 1955. p. Part I - page 2. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Pruett Carter". The Gastonia Gazette. Gastonia, North Carolina. December 3, 1955. p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Illustrators. Hastings House. 1989. p. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gordon McClelland; Jay T. Last (January 1, 1985). The California Style: California Watercolor Artists, 1925-1955. Hillcrest Press. ISBN 978-0-914589-02-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Step by Step Graphics. Dynamic Graphics, Incorporated. 1996. pp. 112–119.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>