Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Dean Cornwell - part 1

Dean Cornwell with mural
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Dean Cornwell (1892-1960) was a left-handed painter and muralist who dominated the illustration field for many years. He began his professional art career at age 18 as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. A year later, he enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute and went to work in the art department of the Chicago Tribune. At the Chicago Art Institute, he met and studied under prominent art educator Harvey Dunn. In 1915 followed Dunn to New York and joined him in his studio-classroom. After studying with Dunn Cornwell quickly became a success.

Cornwell always had a strong work ethic and often worked seventeen-hour days, seven days a week. He produced over 1,000 illustrations for nearly every major publication in the country including Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping magazines. He did advertising illustrations for hundreds of companies, and during the first World War he produced posters promoting the war effort.
In 1927 he decided to devote the rest of his life to mural painting and travelled to England to study mural painting for three years under famous muralist and autodidact Frank Brangwyn. Brangwyn selected Cornwell to assist him in a series of murals, including one at the House of Lords. Cromwell claimed that he rarely made much money from his murals and he continued his illustration work whenever he needed money.

Cornwell’s murals include his well-known work at the Los Angeles Public Library that told the history of California. 

1932-33 Los Angeles Public Library mural 

Also in California is his mural at the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands. Cornwell also painted murals for New York City at the Eastern Airlines Building, the Raleigh Room at the Hotel Warwick, and the General Motors mural at the 1939 World's Fair. During the depression he painted Federal Art Project murals in post offices in Chapel Hill and Morganton, North Carolina.

Cornwell taught and lectured at the Art Students League in New York City and served as president of the Society of Illustrators from 1922 to 1926. He received gold medals for mural painting from the Architectural League of New York, as well as gold medals from the Allied Artists of America and the Society of Illustrators. Cornwell's 1928 "Washing the Savior's Feet," originally painted for Good Housekeeping, was accepted for display by Britain's prestigious Royal Academy, one of the few American artists to receive this honour. 

1928 Washing the Saviour's Feet
oil on canvas 86.4 x 121.9 cm

In 1934 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and became a full Academician in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters from 1953 to 1957. In 1959 he was inducted into the Society of Illustrator's Hall of Fame.
Dean Cornwell died in 1960 in New York City.


This is part 1 of a 5-part series on the works of Dean Cornwell:


1913 The Three Godfathers by Peter B. Kyne
 illustrated by Dean Cornwell


1916 Some Necktie, Lady
oil on canvas 36.8 x 86.4 cm

1916 Some Necktie, Lady
detail

1916 Some Necktie, Lady
detail

1917 An Old-Fashioned Picnic
oil on canvas 40.6 x 94.6 cm

1917 An Old-Fashioned Picnic detail
oil on canvas 40.6 x 94.6 cm

1917 An Old-Fashioned Picnic detail
oil on canvas 40.6 x 94.6 cm

1917 Options
The Saturday Evening Post story illustration
oil on canvas 61 x 86.4 cm

1918 The Dark Fleece
Saturday Evening Post story illustration
oil on canvas 61 x 101.6 cm

1918 The Other Side
oil on canvas 87.6 x 64.8 cm

1918 The Torrent
illustration in Hearst International magazine
oil on board 33 x 35.6 cm

1918 The Torrent study

1918 Work for America
oil on canvas?

c1918 Man with Bandaged Head
Saturday Evening Post illustration
oil on mounted canvas 62.7 x 46.2 cm

1919 Frontier Woman
illustration for Cosmopolitan Magazine
oil on canvas 61 x 50.8 cm

1919 Royal Canadian Mountie
oil on canvas

1919 Stern News after Dinner
oil on canvas 66 x 101.6 cm

1919 The Valley of Silent Men
oil on canvas 61 x 91.4 cm

1920 One Thing Puzzled Dirty Dan Extremely
 illustration for Cosmopolitan magazine April 1920
oil on canvas 66 x 97.8 cm

1920 One Thing Puzzled Dirty Dan Extremely
detail

1920 One Thing Puzzled Dirty Dan Extremely
detail


c1920-29 Babysitting
oil on canvas 76.2 x 53.3 cm

1920 Find the Woman
oil on canvas 61 x 76.2 cm

c1920 Moonlit Couple
oil on canvas 76.2 x 61 cm

c1920 Strong Women "Euphorbia" by Gene Stratton-Porter
oil on board 71.1 x 97.8 cm

1921 $2,000 Reward
oil on canvas

1921 Priest, Spanish City
oil on canvas 76.2 x 86.4 cm

1921 Pursuit
oil on board 53.3 x 48.3 cm

1921 The Artist and His Model
oil on canvas 86.4 x 91.4 cm

1921 The Bridge
Harper's Bazaar
oil on canvas 86.4 x 76.2 cm

1921 The Pride of Palomar by Peter B. Kyne
 illustrated by Dean Cornwell

1921 The Pride of Palomar by Peter B. Kyne
 illustrated by Dean Cornwell detail

1921 The Red Shawl
Hearst's International magazine (1922)
oil on canvas  86.4 x 76.2 cm

1922 Romantic Couple Seated by a Piano
  Hearst's International Magazine
oil on canvas 86.4 x 91.4 cm

1922 Romantic Couple Seated by a Piano
 detail

1922 Romantic Couple Seated by a Piano
 detail

1922 Spanish Tavern
oil on canvas 71 x 114.3 cm

1922 Spanish Tavern
detail

1922 Spanish Tavern
detail

1922 The Desert Healer
Cosmopolitan magazine illustration 76.2 x 101.6 cm

1922 The Widow's Loan
illustration for Cosmopolitan magazine May 1922
 oil on canvas 91.9 x 76.6 cm

1923 A Man and Woman in an Interior
oil on canvas 80 x 106.7 cm

1923 A Man and Woman in an Interior
detail


1923 Cosmopolitan magazine illustration

1923 Couple on a Bench in Moonlight
oil on board 76.2 x 101.6 cm

1923 Never the Twain Shall Meet
book dust jacket and title illustration
oil on canvas

1923 Never the Twain Shall Meet
detail

1923 Never the Twain Shall Meet
detail

1923 Never the Twain Shall Meet
printed version

1923 Never the Twain Shall Meet
illustration for Cosmopolitan magazine
oil on canvas 90.2 x 76.2 cm

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