Magnus Colcord Heurlin

Magnus Colcord "Rusty" Heurlin, July 5, 1895 - March 10, 1986, was born in Christanstad, Sweden, to American parents, Berndt Felix Heurlin and Sophie Bjorklund, and was raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts after the family returned to the U.S. in 1896. He attended art classes at the Fenway School of Illustration in Boston. He first came to Alaska in 1916, to Valdez, traveling aboard the SS Northwestern from Seattle, Washington. He later moved to Barrow where he lived and painted, concentrating on the Inupiat, creating many works depicting whaling and hunting. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1917 and left the state during World War I, serving in France. After the war he lived for a time in Westport, Connecticut, where he began his professional art career. He returned to Alaska in 1924, and moved to the village of Ester with his wife, Ann Downer Severin (d. 1971), where he resided until his death. Heurlin taught the first art classes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the 1950s, and received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1971. Heurlin was known for his pastel palette and luminous skies, and influenced many later Alaska artists, such as Fred Machetanz.