Illustration

15 Thanksgiving Vintage Art Pieces

Check out some amazing retro artworks dedicated to this holiday

As any other celebration, Thanksgiving Day is ever-present in popular culture, and can be found in artwork since it first began.

We compiled some vintage art, illustrations, posters and postcards that will get you in the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving Table

By Richard C. Miller (1941)

The artist made a carbo print of his daughter at the table waiting for their Thanksgiving meal. The illustration appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, and it was the first cover capturing a scene from everyday life, that would later become Norman Rockwell’s signature style.

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© Miller Family Trust A, Getty Museum

Thanksgiving Day

Poster Sales Letters C. J. Howard, Inc. (1927)

Part of the Mr. and Mrs. F.F. Randolph Poster Collection of the National Museum of American History.

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National Museum of American History

Thanksgiving

By Doris Lee (c. 1935)

This oil on canvas depicts a woman preparing a feast in a rural and familiar scene. The piece won the prestigious Logan Purchase Price, and it’s recognized as one of the most nostalgic views of the Depresssion Era America in the United Sates.

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Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund. Art Institute Chicago

Thanksgiving

By Waldo Peirce (1935)

The artist painted over three sheets of woven paper with mixed media: watercolor, gouache, pen, graphite and ink. The piece includes typewritten elements along with the illustration.

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Olivia Shaler Swan Memorial Fund. Art Institute Chicago

A Turkey Before Thanksgiving

By William Steig (1992)

More recently, William Steig portrayed this funny and sad image of a turkey’s near future. It was painted on woven paper with pen and black ink, along with a gray wash.

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Gift of the William Steig Art Trust. Art Institute Chicago

Thanksgiving, for The Chap-Book

By William H. Bradley (1895)

This piece stands out by its use of repeated motif and typography. It is a zincography print (zinc lithography) on woven paper.

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Gift of George F. Porter. Art Institute Chicago

Thanksgiving Day in the Army—After Dinner: The Wish Bone

By Winslow Homer (1864)

This wood engraving on paper appeared on Harper’s Weekly Magazine.

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Gift of Arthur and Hilda Wenig. Art Institute Chicago

Thanksgiving Day for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines

War Camp Community Service (1918)

A Beautiful example of the use of typography on a classic poster for an event.

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National Museum of American History

Sing for Victory Thanksgiving Day

National Council of Women

An anonymous poster from the Between Wars era.

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National Museum of American History

Cordial Thanksgiving Greetings

Unknown (c. 1900)

A classical turn of the century postcard that includes a colorful image with detailed calligraphy work.

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John I. Monroe Collection

Ours to Fight for / Freedom From Want

By Normal Rockwell (1943)

A traditional image from the legendary illustrator and artist, created for the Office of War Information.

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National Museum of American History

Thanksgiving Postcard

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject.

Typical illustrations that follow rural and folk themes during the fall and the beginning of the holiday season.

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National Museum of American History
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National Museum of American History

Thanksgiving Greetings

Unknown (c. 1900)

Another traditional postcard conserved by the Newberry Library.

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Newberry Library

First Turkey

By Fontaine Fox (1917)

This cartoon reads “How it seems to the young man who is carving his very first turkey”. It appeared on the Times Dispatch, Richmond Virginia.

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Fontaine Fox
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