The Al Parker Collection includes material relating to Parker’s personal and professional development, photographs of artist models, original artwork, and published materials featuring his artwork.
Al Parker was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 and studied at Washington University’s School of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1928. After opening a fledgling advertising agency with fellow students and beginning to work for national magazines, Parker moved to New York City in 1935. A cover illustration for House Beautiful won a national competition and garnered Parker jobs producing illustrations and covers for Chatelaine, Collier’s, Woman’s Home Companion, and Ladies’ Home Journal.
Parker enjoyed a long career and constantly reinvented his style and thematic approach while experimenting with new media to keep his throngs of imitators stymied. Parker’s artwork is highly recognizable because of his crisp renderings and compositions. Known as the Dean of Illustrators, Parker was one of the founding faculty members for the Famous Artists School and was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1965.
All Washington University faculty, students, and staff can access this collection by creating an account or logging in to Artstor. Those users outside of the university can contact Special Collections staff for access privileges.