10 March 1986 — Ester, Alaska
Magnus Colcord "Rusty" Heurlin (July 1895 – March 1986) was a Swedish-American Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist.
Magnus Colcord Heurlin was born on 5 July 1895 in Christanstad, Skåne County, Sweden. He was the son of Berndt Felix Heurlin and Sophie Bjorklund. He was raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts after the family returned to the U.S. from Sweden in 1896. He attended art classes at the Fenway School of Illustration in Boston.
Heurlin first came to Alaska in 1916, traveling aboard the S.S. Northwestern from Seattle, Washington to Valdez, Alaska. He later moved to Barrow where he lived and painted, concentrating on the Inupiat, creating many works depicting whaling and hunting.
He joined the U.S. Navy in 1917 and left the states during World War I, serving in France. Because of his extensive knowledge of armaments he attained a job as Admiral Plunkett's orderly in the naval railroad batteries.
After the war, Heurlin lived for many years in Westport, where he began his professional art career as an illustrator for magazines published in New York City. In the early 1930s he was selected as an artist for the WPA Arts Project in Westport's public school buildings.
He returned to Alaska around 1935, and moved outside Fairbanks to the gold mining village of Ester with his wife, Anne Downer Severin (d. 1971). The artist worked on the gold dredges near Ester for the Fairbanks Exploration (FE) Company at Independence Mine.
During World War II, he served as an ATG lieutenant and expert rifle instructor with the Army reserve component of the Alaska Territorial Guard (1941-47).
He died on 10 March 1986 in Ester, Alaska.