March 5, 1892
|Died||December 4, 1960
New York, New York
|Known for||Illustration, painting|
Dean Cornwell (March 5, 1892 - December 4, 1960) was an American illustrator and muralist. His oil paintings were frequently featured in popular magazines and books as literary illustrations, advertisements, and posters promoting the war effort. Throughout the first half of the 20th century he was a dominant presence in American illustration. At the peak of his popularity he was nicknamed the "Dean of Illustrators".
Cornwell was born in Louisville, Kentucky. His father, Charles L. Cornwell, was a civil engineer whose drawings of industrial subjects fascinated Cornwell as a child. He began his professional career as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. Soon thereafter he moved to Chicago, where he studied at the Art Institute and worked for the Chicago Tribune. In 1915 he moved to New York City and studied in New York City under Harvey Dunn at the Art Students League of New York. Eventually he traveled to London to study mural painting as an apprentice to Frank Brangwyn.
Cornwell's paintings graced the pages of Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping magazines, illustrating the work of authors including Pearl S. Buck, Lloyd Douglas, Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, W. Somerset Maugham, and Owen Wister. He painted murals for the Los Angeles Public Library, the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, California, the Eastern Airlines Building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), the U.S. Post Office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Warwick New York Hotel in New York City, the New England Telephone headquarters building in Boston, the Davidson County Courthouse and Sevier State Office Building in Tennessee, and the Centre William Rappard in Geneva, Switzerland. His ambitious mural for the Los Angeles Public Library was a rendering of the history of California.
Cornwell taught and lectured at the Art Students League in New York. He served as president of the Society of Illustrators from 1922 to 1926, and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1959. In 1934, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician, and became a full Academician in 1940. He died in New York City.
Examples of Cornwell's Work
- Reed, Walt and Roger, The Illustrator in America 1880-1980, page 119. Madison Square Press Inc., 1984.
- Reed, 1984, p. 119.
- Anne-Leslie Owens, Dean Cornwell, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
- Telephone Men and Women at Work
- Dean Cornwell collection at the National Museum of American Illustration
- Works in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
- Dean Cornwell artwork can be viewed at American Art Archives web site