Harry Donald Jones laying down chalk outlines for the frescos. (Source: Des Moines Register Oct 25, 1938)

Harry Donald Jones

1907-1995

Harry Donald Jones

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Born in Vincennes, Indiana on August 13, 1906, Harry Donald Jones was educated at Iowa University, Harvard University, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was based in Iowa until about 1941, living in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Jones served in the Navy during World War II through 1946 and then moved to San Francisco where he had a successful career as a photographer.

The photo was part of public relations media release by 20th Century-Fox. Harry Donald Jones [aka Donald Organ] brought one of his paintings to the “A Man Called Peter” set at 20th Century Fox, where this image was shot with actress Jean Peters. The release stated “Jean [Peters] was admiring the color but asked ‘what does it represent?’ She guessed it might be man in the atomic age, and after a bit gave up. [Jones] said, “It’s a portrait of a can opener.” He drew one from his pocket.”

Harry Jones continued to paint but in a style that was a combination of surrealism and geometric abstraction. His San Francisco studio located at 450 Battery Street was in the old “Monkey Block” (now the Transamerica Pyramid). He died in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 16, 1995.

Artist Harry Jones with wife Elsie Tjrdik (a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and their daughter Belva Jones (born 1934 in Kansas City, Missouri).
Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

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