Art Moment: ‘Boys and Kites’

John Philip Lalter (1910 – 1982), “Boys and Kites”, ca. 1950. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post. New Britain Museum of American Art.

Boys and Kite was a cover illustration for the March 8 1950 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The painting, by John Falter (1910-1982) shows a scene in an early spring morning with trees and farm lands just beginning to turn green. The hilly field still shows its dried grass cover, with hints of the green to come as the weather warms. A keen observer of the land, Falter darkened the areas of the landscape that would have been shadowed by the clouds. These elements give the viewer a sense of being “part of the picture”, witnessing the action from behind the kite flyers – a group of mostly boys flying kites or getting their kites ready to fly. The joyous lift of the spirit when a kite soars to the sky is palpable in Falter’s painting and the overall scene is one of freedom and calm.

John Falter in his studio. Like many American Illustrators of the middle of last century, Falter’s work celebrated Americana and the American way of life in idyllic images.

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