Famous Artists School

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Robert Fawcett illustrated this cover for Famous Artists Magazine (Spring 1959).

Famous Artists School has offered correspondence courses in art since it was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by members of the New York Society of Illustrators, but due to the society's legal status, could not be operated by it. Society member Albert Dorne led the initiative to set up a separate entity, and recruited the support of Norman Rockwell, who was also a society member. For the founding faculty, Dorne recruited John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Al Parker, Norman Rockwell, Ben Stahl, Harold von Schmidt and Jon Whitcomb. All were making more than US$ 50,000 a year at the time. Later faculty included Cowboy Artist Harvey W. Johnson and cartoonists Roger Vernon, Al Capp, Milt Caniff and Rube Goldberg. Advisory faculty for the school later included Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, Fletcher Martin, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee. The Famous Artists School was acquired by Cortina Learning International of Wilton, Connecticut in 1981. In 2014 the archives were donated to the Norman Rockwell Museum.[1][2]

Original courses[edit]

The original courses offered in 1948 were Painting, Illustration/Design and Cartooning. The Painting and Illustration & Design courses, which are still offered, consisted of 24 lessons, with a new lesson mailed to the student upon completion of the previous lesson. When a student completed and returned the assignment, it was critiqued by a professional artist who sent suggestions back to the student. The original 1948 price for the three-year course was $200, payable in monthly installments, and veterans could use the GI Bill.[3] By the 1950s the price was $300, plus an estimated $11.55 for basic oil painting supplies.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kennedy, Randy (March 20, 2014). "The Draw of a Mail-Order Art School: Famous Artists School Archives Go to Norman Rockwell Museum". New York Times. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "In The News: Famous Artists School Archives". Norman Rockwell Museum. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Solomon, Deborah (2013). ""We're Looking for People Who Like to Draw" (October 1948)". American Mirror: the Life and Art of Norman Rockwell. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 243. ISBN 0374113092. 
  4. ^ Marling, Karal Ann (1994). As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0674048836.  Extract archived online; search "Famous" for cited pp. 72-73: Marling, Karal Ann. "Hyphenated Culture: Painting by Numbers in the New Age of Leisure". Le Salon de PAINT-BY-NUMBERS. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06. 

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