“‘Gad,’ Said Heseltine to Peril, ‘If The Doctor Can Only Keep Me Going Long Enough’? Oil paintings of key scenes from long lost dramas. By Dean Cornwell, once dubbed America’s “Dean of Illustrators”.
He was an untiring, left handed, worker who was known for making seemingly endless preliminary studies and trial compositions before he’d even think about a final painting in oils. His paintings manage to pull the spontaneous boldness of a master painter and a draughtsman’s considered intricacy at once.
Dean Cornwell (1892-1960), was born in Louisville, Kentucky. As a child he was entranced by his civil engineer father’s was a civil industrial drawings and grew up to become a prominent and in demand American illustrator and muralist.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Dean Cornwell was one of the giants of American illustration. At the peak of his popularity he was nicknamed the “Dean of Illustrators”. It’s incredible to think that magazines once commissioned oil painters as illustrators but they did. Dean’s oil paintings/illustrations frequently featured in popular magazines and books as literary illustrations, advertisements, and posters promoting the war effort.
“The Garden Of Peril”, “The Stick-Up”, “The Desert Healer”, “Pursuit”, “City Of Temptation”, and what to make of, “‘Gad,’ Said Heseltine To Peril, ‘If The Doctor Can Only Keep Me Going Long Enough,’?
Like stills from movies we’ll never see, Cornwell’s images sit alone today, as random dramas, thrilling scenes with no context, their actors frozen mid act. These hugely enigmatic moments rendered in Cornwell’s singular evocative style are adrift now for eternity from the tales they were once a part of.
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