Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Artist in Vietnam

The Christopher Fleming Collection of Jon Nielsen Visual Materials is now open for viewing at the Richard B. Russell Library!

Jon Nielsen (1912-1986) was a Danish-American artist, illustrator and portraitist who illustrated over 200 children’s books and textbooks, and whose career spanned over 35 years. Nielsen graduated from the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He was an avid world traveler, spending a year in France illustrating a language textbook, and at one point embarking on a one-month safari in Zambia to make woodcuts of the native animals for the Zambian government.

In the 1960s, Nielsen was asked by the U.S. State Department to travel to Vietnam and entertain the soldiers by sketching portraits. While there, he took many photographs of both the American military presence and the daily lives of the Vietnamese people. The collection contains 70 of these photographs, as well as six originals of his elegantly simplistic ink drawings. One such drawing was featured on the cover of Nielsen’s book, “Artist in South Vietnam.” Nielsen also created the children’s book “The Wishing Pearl and Other Tales of Vietnam” with his wife, Kay.

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of University holidays. For further information on the Christopher Fleming Collection of Jon Nielsen Visual Materials, please contact or call (706) 542-5788.

Post by Heather Highfield, Summer Intern, Russell Library

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