The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 26, 2012

Portrait of St. Nicholas

JOHNSTOWN — “After reading some of the short articles and viewing some of the Christmas memorabilia, I was inspired to send you this picture of a Santa which was painted by Henry E. Becker, a well-known sign painter,” wrote John Mavrodis of Johnstown. “I worked for Becker as a youngster delivering signs and other printed materials throughout the city on my bicycle. This painting was requested by a jeweler for a Christmas promotion in 1968. Becker became enraged when the jeweler never picked up the poster, and it sat in the shop for several years. One day, as I was cleaning the shop, I asked him what he was going to do with this Santa and if he had no plans for him I expressed my desire to have it. In his most abrupt and gruff manner he told me to ‘take the damn thing,’ so that it would not remind him of the jeweler. I then asked him to sign the painting and it has been with me ever since. It has traveled with me from Johnstown to Boston to New York City and back to Johnstown. This painting is a watercolor on a piece of showcard. I have many stories to recall working in the shop which was known as Becker Signs and fond remembrances of the painter who was a master in his art.”

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