Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Exile’s Victory, The

  • Artist:

    Nast, Thomas

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1840–1902

  • Date:

    dated June 17, 1871

  • Medium:

    Wood engraving

  • Dimensions:

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds donated by the Derby Refining Company, a Unit of Coastal States Gas Corporation

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Thomas Nast was born in 1840 in Landau, Bavaria where his father was a musician in a military band. When he was six years old, Nast’s family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in New York City. Nast possessed a talent for drawing, which he developed very early. At age 15 he boldly applied for work as an artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine and was accepted.

In 1862, Nast joined the staff of Harper’s Weekly, a publication to which he had earlier contributed some satirical drawings. Harper’s encouraged Nast’s talent for caricature and he quickly became America’s first major political cartoonist. During the years 1869-1871 he demonstrated the enormous power of the cartoonist to influence public opinion in his successful campaign against the corruption of New York City’s government. Among his contributions to the tradition of journalistic caricature are the symbols of the Republican Elephant, the Democratic Donkey and Uncle Sam.

The popular American conception of Santa Claus may also be counted as a legacy of Thomas Nast. He began drawing the jolly old elf in the early 1860’s and continued to embellish this symbol of merriment, good cheer and childhood joy. He had five children of his own and loved to make much of the Christmas celebration. Each Christmas Eve he arranged the presents around the candle-lit tree, placing drawings and long paper-doll figures which he had made among the gifts. Nast used his children and the interior of his home as the models for many of his Christmas images.