Jack Jefferson

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Irv and Jim, 1982 Charcoal And Graphite 21" X 13" © Copyright 2009 Jefferson Archives Publishing. All rights reserved
There They Are, 1980 Charcoal And Graphite 24" X 18" © Copyright 2009 Jefferson Archives Publishing. All rights reserved
Scarlet, 2007 Oil 36" X 30" © Copyright 2009 Jefferson Archives Publishing. All rights reserved
Embarcadero #4, 1962 Oil On Canvas 74 X 60"
Quick Facts
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Birth year
Lives in
Works in
Jefferson School of Commercial art and Design, 1977, Certificate
Representing galleries
Jefferson Archives Publishing

 The Library of Congress, Washington D.C. adds the work of La Crosse, Wisconsin artist, the late William H. Jefferson to its permanent collection

Washington D.C. The Library of Congress recently announced the addition of two works of art created by the late William H. Jefferson to its permanent collection. The work is part of a series of charcoal drawings Jefferson created in the early 1980s.

 A descendant of Thomas Jefferson, artist William H. Jefferson was born in Sparta Wisconsin on May 25, 1917, and moved to La Crosse Wisconsin after his military service during WWII. Prior to the war, Jefferson concentrated on his deep desire to become a successful American artist. Initially, he worked as apprentice to Haddon Sunblom and William Griffith, two legendary Chicago illustrators. Together they taught Jefferson human anatomy, what many artists overlook today.

 A crucial point in Jefferson’s development as a fine artist ironically came during his recuperation in a Chicago hospital from the year he endured in a German POW camp. Jefferson fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he and most of his comrades from the US Army 106th Infantry Division were captured when the German’s retreated. Jefferson’s artistic aspirations helped him survive the desperate period of his captivity, as well as his lengthy hospital stay after liberation. It also gave him time to think about a career in the army, Jefferson was promoted to Major while hospitalized and received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

 After his recovery, Jefferson decided to retire from the military and founded Jefferson Advertising, La Crosse. He counted Northwest Airlines among his national clients. Throughout his career in advertising, Jefferson closely followed artists Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth. Additionally, he utilized the enlightenment of Andrew Loomis in the curriculum of the Jefferson School of Art in La Crosse.

 In the early 1980’s Jefferson’s career as a fine artist finally began. His intricately detailed figurative works were featured at a number of major art gallery events nationally and articles about Jefferson and his drawings appeared in several national Fine Art publications. In an excerpt from one of his interviews, Jefferson offered this insight regarding the inspiration for his work. “I want to provoke some thought through my drawings. The look of the face, the attitude of the body – I want to portray a moment in the life of that individual. I don’t necessarily want the viewers to see the same thing I do, but I want them to see something – determination in those eyes, suffering, and” he added, “some humor.”

 Quite tragically, just as Jefferson had seemingly achieved his lifelong goal to be recognized as a significant American artist, the hardships of his WWII combat and prison camp experience overtook him and he spent the remaining years of his life confined to a military hospital. Jefferson was laid to rest with honors in March of 1996 at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C. It is worthy to note that Jefferson’s works of art will now join him at our Nations Capital.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with  books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.The Library of Congress is located at 101 Independence Ave, SE Washington, DC 20540. Web site:

 Additional locations where Jefferson’s works of art are part of permanent collections include:



Black River Falls, Wisconsin


Sparta, Wisconsin


AT THE MARSHFIELD CLINIC, Marshfield, Wisconsin


 Tomah, Wisconsin

For more information about Jefferson and his work visit:




Jack Jefferson

 “Historically, the female form is one of the most studied subjects in all of art. I use it to convey something truly beautiful

A 3rd generation American artist, Jack Jefferson first discovered his talents as a boy while assisting his father, William H. Jefferson and the studio artists at his father’s advertising agency. Later, he joined the family business and honed his undisciplined artistic skills. Jefferson developed exceptional abilities in conceptual illustration and graphic design.

In 1979 he left the business and set out on a 25 year journey that would take him to the top of the design industry. Holding positions that included Vice President, Creative Director at an international advertising agency headquartered in Chicago.

Upon the death of his father in 1996, who himself had emerged as a highly accomplished and nationally recognized fine artist, Jack promised to fulfill a commitment he had made years earlier. That promise would bring him back to his roots as a painter.

Today, he paints with a passion and a conviction not seen since his youth. While his inspiration, his abilities and his focus can be traced to the early days working with his late father.

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