Biography: Born in Philadelphia, George Matthews Harding was the younger brother of illustrator Charlotte Harding Brown. After architectural studies in Boston, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He attended the academy at night and worked as an architect for the Frederick Mann firm during the day. In 1902-03, he studied with Howard Pyle and also traveled to Newfoundland where he made drawings of local fishermen.
Harding's first illustrations appeared in Collier's Weekly and The Saturday Evening Post in 1904-05. In 1907, he became an illustrator and author for Harper's Monthly Magazine. While with Harper's he traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Australia. In 1915 he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as an associate professor in the department of fine arts, a post he held until 1935. He also taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1921 to 1958.
During World War I, Harding began his service as a member of the poster committee of the U.S. Navy Recruiting Service, and from there he was selected for the Army's program. He was one of eight official combat artists with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. His works from the period are housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
After the WWI, Harding returned to his painting and teaching in Philadelphia, publishing a limited-edition portfolio of some of his war art entitled The American Expeditionary Forces in Action. He married Anita Nisbeth of Ardmore, and established his own studio and home in Wynnewood.
Harding was also a muralist; he and N.C. Wyeth painted murals for the Hotel Traymore in Atlantic City; and he completed several public-building murals in Pennsylvania, as well as one for the New York World's Fair in 1939.
In 1942, at age 60, he accepted a commission with the U.S. Marine Corps as a combat artist in campaigns in the Pacific during World War II. This time, he served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1940 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1945.
A Small School of Art. Rowland Elzea and Elizabeth H. Hawkes, editors. Delaware Art Museum, 1980