Harry Del Reeks Biography

Harry Del Reeks




Painter, printmaker, and World War II combat artist Harry Del Reeks was born in Covington, Louisiana, on May 23, 1920. His early art education began with his father, John F. Meeks, who was an artist himself. He was also given lessons by New Orleans painter Charles Reinke (1906 - 1983) and Horace Russ of the Arts and Crafts Academy. Scenes of New Orleans nightlife dominated Del Reeks' early work until he relocated to California in 1939. The following year, he was called up for duty in the U.S. Marines. Serving as a combat artist, he captured events at Iwo Jima, Bougainville, Guam, and Saipan islands.

Following the war Del Reeks settled in San Francisco, where he became a regionalist painter. After marrying Marine reservist Chloe Baker while on an extended visit to Hawaii, they lived in California, Texas, and finally Biloxi, Mississippi. He continued to paint and soon incorporated sculpture into his oeuvre, supporting himself and his family as a journalist for a Gulf Hills public relations firm, interviewing visiting celebrities such as Elvis Presley; as a portrait artist at the Branigar Brothers' resort; and as a real estate agent and founder of the Gulf Beach Realty Company. 

The Del Meeks' remained in Mississippi. Harry died on january 15, 1982. His work is held in the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection of the John Hay Library; Brown University; Parris Island Museum; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, MI; and the government collections of Daleville and Biloxi, MI.