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1991: 50 Works for 50 Years

Jes W. Schlaikjer

The Boy in Red

Jes W. Schlaikjer (1897 – 1982) was born on the maiden voyage of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse to the United States and raised on a homestead near Carter in Tripp County, South Dakota. He served in Army Intelligence during World War I. Afterwards, he studied in France, at the Art Institute of Chicago and with Harvey Dunn and Dean Cornwell. Schlaikjer and his wife Gladys DeGroot settled in New York and became successful magazine illustrators.

During World War II Schlaikjer was a War Department artist at the Pentagon, where he designed posters for the military and Red Cross. He also completed portraits of military brass, including Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur.

The Boy in Red dates from a later period in his career, when he established a portrait studio in Washington, D.C. Schlaikjer painted an alternate version of this portrait, as evidenced by a photograph in the museum archives. The identity of the sitter is unknown although his surname was possibly McCullom.

Learn more about Schlaikjer and see examples of his poster illustrations and portraits in John E. Rychtarik’s (retired South Dakota Art Museum Exhibitions Curator) article on the artist: Jes Wilhelm Schlaikjer, Illustrator and Portrait Artist.

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