Lines and Colors art blog

Pruett Carter

Pruett Carter
Pruett Carter was an American illustrator active in the first half of the 20th Century.

Carter was noted primarily for his work in women’s magazines, an area of publishing that was particularly fertile ground for illustrators at the time, but also a rapidly changing filed, in which the demands from art directors moved rapidly from one style to another.

Carter, who initially shared an impressionistic approach with his teacher Walter Biggs, was able to move smoothly into new styles as the century progressed. His negotiation of the changing currents of illustration fashion were no doubt helped by his experience within the industry, having been an art director for Good Housekeeping and Atlanta Journal for a number of years.

He also successfully transitioned from painting in oil to painting in gouache, the fast drying nature of which became an advantage in the production of illustrations on a tight deadline.

His other clients included Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion, and McCall’s. Carter was also an influential teacher, He taught illustration in New York at the Grand Central School of Art and in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Art Institute.

Carter’s romance themed illustrations always had an element of dramatic tension, a moment waiting to happen, that made them seem as likely to be illustrating a crime story as a romance.


21 responses to “Pruett Carter”

  1. It’s hard to love these very commercial works but there is a great quality in them… I like how men and women are placed to interact. The artists had to put some seduction but not too much, it’s very peculiar.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Li-An. I think it’s interesting to look at his later ones in particular in terms of the design aspect of the composition, how the shapes and negative space are handled.

  2. Sadly he was one of the few who had a dramatic ending to his career. Based on the Masters section of my Step-by-Step graphics magazine, he shot his wife and son then turned the gun on himself.

    Shocking stuff.
    Who knows…maybe his genius had it’s downside. When the writing is on the wall…and you can no longer adapt to keep up with the times. :\


    1. Thanks, Shane. I came across brief mention of his death, but didn’t know the details. One can only assume that there were deep emotional or mental health issues beyond the state of his career.

  3. I love the deftness of the brushwork which would be unattainable without a thorough understanding of his subject matter.
    I don’t care if it’s commercial, it’s still a great job.

  4. Honora Domines Avatar
    Honora Domines

    I grew up in the house he built in Studio City. My parents purchased the home from the O’Keefe’s, they were the only owner after the Carters. We lived there from 1969-1983. I have some of his works on canvas and many interesting stories, however I do not know who to contact to publish (of sorts) this information. Found this website via google. Should anyone have more info/resources feel free to contact me at above home email address. HD

  5. Linda Carter Avatar
    Linda Carter

    Honora, I was happy to read your post. Pruett Carter was married to my aunt. My grandmother traveled from Georgia USA to CA to ID the bodies. I saw pictures of their house as a child but never was there.
    Very Interesting to me.

  6. Dear Linda,
    Please feel free to contact me via email —
    I’m happy to send you photos of our house and/or photos of the works we have.

    I’m interested in hearing more about your Aunt so I can share with my older brother and sister. That is of course if you are interested.

    thank you !
    Honora (Tayir) Domines

  7. Linda,

    my email:


    1. Linda,

      I’ve removed Honora’s email from the post to prevent it from being harvested by spammers’ robots.

  8. Steve Jaussaud Avatar
    Steve Jaussaud

    I found this blog via google. As I understand it, my father modeled for Pruett Carter in the early 50’s and his likeness seems to show up in some of Mr. Carter’s later illustrations. I would be very interested to learn about, find, and/or potentially purchase the original of “Do-It-Yourself Decorators”. It’s featured in a beer ad that was published in Colliers on 3/16/1956. The ad says that the illustration is #118 in the series “Home Life in America”. Any information would be very much appreciated. Thanks – Steve Jaussaud

  9. Paul Roe Avatar

    Mr. Jaussaud, I recently purchased a Pruett Carter painting and am trying to find out more about it.

    Do you think that the gentleman in this painting may be your father: ?

    Do you know anything about the story it may have illustrated, or the female model?

    -Paul Roe.

  10. queen lateefah Avatar
    queen lateefah

    I just purchased a pruett carter painting. It is a Indian with white stripes on his face. Very imposing, demands to be noticed. This peice of art takes over the entire room. Does anyone know the name for this art?

  11. Christine Doney Avatar
    Christine Doney

    My mother-in-law was one of Pruett Carter’s primary models in the 40s and was very close to the Carter family…in fact, her wedding was at their home and he gave the bride away. We have pictures of the wedding ceremony and reception in the house, along with snapshots they sent to my mother-in-law of their home being built and we also have paintings he gifted to my husband with the saying, “I thought you might like a picture of your Mama just for fun…Love Grandpappy Pruett.” Interesting history and we don’t know very much…but we do enjoy looking at her studio shots and appreciate the friendship they had so many years ago! I would love to find some of the magazine covers she was on!

  12. peggy sotnyk Avatar
    peggy sotnyk

    I recently bought a pruett carter oil painting of 2 indians on horseback, with a bright red background, very beautiful. Does anyone know what the name of this might be.

    thank you

  13. Suzanne Avatar

    I am a g-g-niece of Pruett Carter’s…he was married to my great grandmother’s sister. My brother, sisters, and I were all given a Pruett Carter painting upon my grandmother’s death. I would love to send you a picture of it.

  14. Bart Tennant Avatar
    Bart Tennant

    My maternal great aunt was a model for Mr. Carter when he and his wife lived in NYC. Mrs. Carter and my aunt were close friends.
    I own a large oil, (inherited from my grandparents). It was painted in N.Y.C. when the Carters where still living there – 1927.
    The subjects are two women in their ship’s state room. My aunt, Mrs.Hydorn is the seated figure, the woman standing is Mrs. Carter. If anyone needs a picture of the painting, I’d be happy to email it.

    One of Mr. Carters colleague’s at the Grand Central art school was
    Arshile Gorkey. They both taught students who later became as prominent as themselves.

  15. candice Avatar

    I have what I am told is a Pruett Carter painting. My grandfather bought it either in the 1930s or 1940s. It is a young woman standing at a well in white peasant blouse,red bib/sleeves and green skirt. It is signed “P Carter.” Did he ever sign his earlier paintings like this? Is anyone familiar with this painting?

  16. Eric Kinman Avatar
    Eric Kinman

    Hey all.

    Just picked up “Gypsy Girl” by P. Carter. Making a leap that is it Pruett Carter. Any leads?

    1. Have you tried a Google image search at for: “Pruett Carter” “gypsy girl” (with the separate sets of quotes), to see if any images match? Otherwise, you might try searching online auction sites like Heritage, Bonhams, Christies, Sothebys, Artnet, etc.

  17. Nicole A. Avatar

    My mother has 2 paintings and also the magazine one of the paintings appeared in. Her father was also one of Mr. Carter’s models representing the teenage children illustrations. My great grandmother said he spent a lot of time with the Carters. We grew up in Studio City and I would love to have Honora Domines and Linda contact me if they can to help me with timelines. Thank you.