Hardie Gramatky, N.A.(1915 - 1986)
Born: Dallas, TX
Studied: Stanford University, Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles).
Member: National Academy of Design, New York Water Color Club, American Watercolor Society, California Water Color Society.
Hardie Gramatky was raised in Southern California. He studied art with F. Tolles Chamberlin, Clarence Hinkle, Pruett Carter and Barse Miller. A dedicated student of watercolor painting, he produced an average of five small watercolors per day. By 1929, he had become a proficient watercolorist and was recognized as one of the true innovators in the development of California Style watercolor painting. These skills helped him to get a job as a head animator at the Walt Disney Studios.
In the early 1930s, he became active on the board of the California Water Color Society and it was largely through his aggressive moves that the California School of watercolorists was able to take control of the Society and expand it into a nationally recognized organization. In 1937 the Ferargil gallery became his art agent in New York City and began selling his watercolors. He also exhibited works in other cities in America and established a reputation as one of California’s premier watercolorists.
By the 1940s, he was producing commercial art to be used for magazine illustrations and began writing and illustrating a series of children’s books. Hercules, Loopy, Creeper’s Jeep and Sparky were all books he created, but Little Toot was the one that would become an all-time best seller. During World War II, he worked in Hollywood producing training films for the United States Air Force and after the war moved back to the East Coast. Settling in Connecticut he pursued a career as a commercial illustrator producing art for Fortune, Collier’s, Woman’s Day, True, American and Readers Digest.
Hardie Gramatky Biography information: Gordon T. McClelland and Jay T. Last - Author, California Watercolors 1850-1970, Illustrated History and Biographical Dictionary.