My Seal

by Magnus Heurlin
oil on canvas 20 x 28

Born in Sweden to American parents, Rusty Heurlin studied at the Fenway School of Illustration in Boston before embarking on a journey westward which would ultimately bring him to Alaska. He worked on a ranch in Texas, then on the docks in Seattle, before heading to Valdez in 1916. Heurlin served in Europe during World War One, then returned to Connecticut where he painted covers and created illustrations for New York magazines. In 1924 he finally returned to Alaska, moving to Ester, near Fairbanks, where he would reside until his death in 1986.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Heurlin was commissioned to create a number of large-scale works around northern Alaska. Many of the murals are still viewable in Fairbanks.

He was given an honorary degree from the University of Alaska in 1971.

Heurlin was a keen observer of life in the north of Alaska. He participated in four separate whaling seasons in the Barrow area. The scenes he observed there would appear in his work throughout his career.