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Andy Anderson

Birth place or City of origin: Chicago
State of origin: IL
Last known City: Tesuque
Last known State: NM
Start/Birth date: 1893
Death/End date: 1963

The first recognized American caricature carver, H S Andy Anderson was born in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was a young teenager he moved with his family to Colorado and while growing up there, Andy carved horses, cowboys, and depictions of life. At the age of 16 he left home to work with a cowboy. While he was out working as a cowpoke earning a meager $30 per month, he began to develop ideas for wood carved characters. Andy wrote in his book "One day a cowboy rode in from Wyoming, who was the homeliest man I had ever laid eyes on. All the rest of that day I could see him in my mind and thought, 'What a good character he would make for a wood carving!’ He was my first model, and this was my first attempt at carving a likeness of anyone. The figure of this old weather-beaten cowpoke turned out real good (much to my surprise) and from then on I started carving characters."

In 1927 Andy moved to California to be near his parents. His figure carving began to evolve as he was creating characters from the Old West. He began carving full time and earned a respectable living through the 1930s. He eventually set-up a workshop at Southern California’s venerable Knott’s Berry Farm, where he could always be found carving, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd. During World War II most of the items he carved went to high-ranking officials in the Army and one was even given as a gift to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from Jesse Jones, Secretary of Commerce. While Andy’s carvings were somewhat less refined and more whimsical than today’s caricatures, his enchanting figures were highly regarded and sought after by movie stars, politicians, and a broad range of collectors in addition to many museums.

Andy Anderson's work can be viewed at the Stark Museum of Art, Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, in Orange, Texas. An amazing collection of Anderson's work has also been collected by Koshare Indian Dancers in La Junta, Colorado. The collection includes carved figures, furniture, and a carved door that had been collected by the Koshare Indian Dancers, through many visits with the artist at his home in Tesuque, New Mexico.

 

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