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Dean Cornwell, American Illustrator

Updated on March 4, 2013

The Dean of Illustrators

A forgotten talent

Dean Cornwell (March 5, 1892 - December 4, 1960) was one of America's most talented illustrators, painters and muralists but, sadly, is largely forgotten today. His talent was so mythic that, unlike most artists, Cornwell never had any difficulty finding work and managed to remain gainfully employed throughout his entire career. Looking at his art it is easy to understand why.

Oh the colors

Dean Cornwell's use of vibrant colors leave the viewer with an almost surreal feeling while the accuracy of the figures drawn and the realism of the shadows and lighting transport you to faraway and exotic places like the Sheik's tent shown above.

You can positively feel the heat in Cornwell's depiction of an accident in a metal smelting factory.

Below, his depiction of the Roman soldiers throwing dice to see who will win Jesus' cloak is an extremely powerful image.

Cornwell gifted us with several images of scenes from Ancient Rome, along with many other lands and eras. His style and subjects are so captivating that it's easy to lose several hours, or more, because you just can't look away.

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    • GetitScene profile image
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      Dale Anderson 4 years ago from The High Seas

      A favorite? I don't think so, to me he's like Frank Frazetta in that, every time I think I have seen his best, I discover a new piece of his art that just blows me away. Exceptional talent like this is so uplifting when you see it.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 4 years ago

      GetitScene, He certainly manages to convey 3D effects with his sculptured lighting and shadowing, particularly in terms of faces from which emotions clearly are conveyed and just as clearly capable of being experienced by the viewer. Do you have an absolute favorite from Dean Cornwell's creations?

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

    • GetitScene profile image
      Author

      Dale Anderson 5 years ago from The High Seas

      Thanks for the catch on the ads. The ads function is turned on...I'll keep investigating. Thanks again.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Couldn't help but notice, no ads on this hub. How will you every get that new sail for your boat!? I had an inkling he maybe used inks, beautiful but tough to navigate, like watercolors only with richer pigment.

    • GetitScene profile image
      Author

      Dale Anderson 5 years ago from The High Seas

      Well he was a bit of a jack of all trades working in oils but also he worked in pencil and, so I have heard, inks. Haven't been able to find a lot of information about the man himself, which is a shame because he was incredibly well respected by his peers. In fact, they dubbed him The Dean of Illustrators. High praise considering his competition at the time.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Cornwell's work looks familiar to me, probably have seen it before and not known it was his. I'm interested to know what media he worked in, do you know? I'm guessing oils but it would be fascinating if he could get that detail out of another media.

      Well done, voted up.

      Ben