Dean Cornwell Biography
A student of both Harvey Dunn and Frank Brangwyn, Cornwell was equally at home with illustrations and murals. Born in 1892, we've seen his cartoon work in Caricature - The Wit and Humor of a Nation, a compilation of material from Judge, as early as 1912.
By the 30's and 40's, Dean Cornwell was a household name. His patriotic war posters and full-page color advertisements were everywhere: Seagrams Whiskey, General Motors, and Coca Cola - to name a few.
Cornwell executed some wonderful murals, some of which can still be seen in the Los Angeles Library. He was a president of the Society of Illustrators from 1922-1926.
Eastern illustrator, mural painter, teacher.
Cornwell was born on March 5, 1892 in Louisville, Kentucky and his father, Charles L. Cornwell, a civil engineer, largely influenced the young boy's interest in drawing due to his drafting of industrial subjects for hours on end. Because of his father's engineering career, there were always sketches of bridges and railroads found around the Cornwell house and they intrigued young Dean who found it incredulous that they could be drawn so exactly.
A similar influence on his career was the nearby Louisville and Portland Canal constructed during the Industrial Revolution. As a result of its magnetic attraction for the young boy, one of Cornwell's earliest drawings at 13, is entitled 'Tell City ', a sketch of a steamboat passing through the Louisville and Portland Canal .
Like so many other illustrators of note, Dean attended the Art Students League in New York . He was there in 1915 and met Charles Chapman and studied under Harvey Dunn, a leading disciple of Howard Pyle. Harvey Dunn proved to be a great influence on Cornwell in respect to color theory and composition. Dean was also lucky to study under the notable Frank Brangwyn, an English muralist of worldwide fame.
A left-handed painter, Cornwell studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then in New York City with Harvey Dunn and Charles S. Chapman. An important illustrator, Cornwell was president of the Society of Illustrators by 1922. He worked for many national periodicals and advertisers and taught illustration at the Art Students League. He later studied mural painting with the English artist Fran Brangwyn and in 1954 was president of the National Mural Painters Society.