Amos Sewell (1901-1983)

Parents' Reveille
Parents' Reveille

Amos Sewell was born in San Francisco, California. Sewell was a nationally-ranked tennis pro during his twenties but quit the sport after he suffered several degrading defeats at the hands of Donald Budge; Grand Slam winner of Wimbledon and the championships of Australia, France, and the United States—in 1938.

Sewell studied art at night attending the California School of Fine Arts, while working days as a bank teller. To try his luck as an illustrator he knew he needed to move east, so to get there he shipped out as a working hand on a lumber boat going by way of the Panama Canal. In New York, he studied at the Art Students League and at the Grand Central School of Art under Harvey Dunn. While in New York in 1932 he married the former Ruth Allen and moved to Westport, Connecticut.

Sewell had a special empathy for children and enjoyed depicting homespun, rural subjects, which served him well illustrating for The Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman magazines. Sewell’s only Country Gentleman cover appeared on January 1, 1945 entitled “Eyeing the Pies”, a man bringing in firewood but stopping to admire two pies cooling on the kitchen table. His first illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, “Dog Pound” emerged on September 17, 1949, a small boy selecting his first dog from the pound while his father looks on. Sewell continued a strong relationship with The Saturday Evening Post illustrating 45 covers between 1949 and 1962.

It is rare to see a full color work by Sewell, as he produced for The Saturday Evening Post, since he was one of the few nationally prominent artists to work in a charcoal medium.

Sewell also achieved recognition as a wartime artist and won a special art award for his War Bond ad illustration, “What’s It Like to Die?”

Amos Sewell spoke the language of average Americans. They know and love the kind of people he drew and they responded to his homespun sincerity with which his art spoke. He died in October of 1983.