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Charles Dana Gibson Edit Profile

graphic artist , illustrator

Charles Dana Gibson was an American graphic artist and illustrator.


Gibson was born on September 14, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Josephine Elizabeth (née Lovett) and Charles DeWolf Gibson. He had a sister Josephine Gibson. One of their great-grandfathers was U. S. Senator James DeWolf, and a great-great-grandfather was U. S. Senator William Bradford. His sister Josephine inherited Longfield (Bristol, Rhode Island) from their paternal grandmother, Abby DeWolf Gibson.


A talented youth with an early interest in art, Gibson was enrolled by his parents in New York City's Art Students League, where he studied for two years.


After a year's study, Gibson began with some modest little drawings for the humorous weekly Life. It featured general interest articles, humor, illustrations, and cartoons. His works appeared weekly in the popular national magazine for more than 30 years. These he followed up with more serious work, and soon made a place for himself as the delineator of the American girl, at various occupations, particularly those out of doors. These obtained an enormous vogue, being afterwards published in book form, running through many editions. The "Gibson Girl" stood for a type of healthy, vigorous, beautiful and refined young womanhood. Some book illustrations followed, notably for The Prisoner of Zenda. His wife and her elegant Langhorne sisters also inspired his famous Gibson Girls, who became iconic images in early 20th-century society. Their dynamic and resourceful father Chiswell Langhorne had his wealth severely reduced by the Civil War, but by the late 19th century, he had rebuilt his fortune on tobacco auctioneering and the railroad industry. In 1906, although besieged with commissions, Gibson withdrew from illustrative work, determining to devote himself to portraiture in oil, in which direction he had already made some successful experiments; but in a few years he again returned to illustration. After the death of John Ames Mitchell in 1918, Gibson became editor of Life and later took over as owner of the magazine. As the popularity of the Gibson Girl faded after World War I, Gibson took to working in oils for his own pleasure. He was imitated by many of the younger draughtsmen, copied by amateurs, and his popularity was shown in his engagement by Collier's Weekly to furnish weekly for a year a double page, receiving for the fifty-two drawings the sum of $50, 000, said to have been the largest amount ever paid to an illustrator for such a commission. These drawings covered various local themes and were highly successful, being drawn with pen and ink with masterly facility and great directness and economy of line. So popular was one series, "The Adventures of Mr Pipp, " that a successful play was modelled on it. Gibson died on December 23, 1944.


  • Gibson is best known for his creation of the Gibson Girl, an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century.


Associate member of the National Academy of Design (1918)


In 1895, Gibson married Irene Langhorne, born in Danville, Virginia.

Charles DeWolf Gibson

Josephine Elizabeth Lovett

Irene Langhorne

Josephine Gibson