Monday, June 17, 2013

Up Close: Dean Cornwell (2)

This is part of an occasional series dealing with detail images of paintings featuring the brushwork of the artist. Previous posts can be found via the "Up close" topic label link on the sidebar.

The present post features illustrator Dean Cornwell (1892-1960) during the period when he was abandoning his original style for a muralist style that he was learning from Frank Brangwyn. I discussed the evolution of Cornwell's style here. A previous post about Cornwell in the present series is here.

The illustration featured here was part of a series for Bruce Barton's popular book "The Man of Galilee" (1928). More information about Cornwell's illustrations for that book can be found here.

The source of the detail image is explained below:

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The Kelly Collection has what is probably the outstanding holding of American illustration art by private individuals (not organizations). I was able to view part of it at The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California towards the end of a January 12 - March 31, 2013 exhibition run. The collection concentrates on illustration art created roughly 1890-1935 and one of its purposes is to further knowledge and appreciation of illustration from that era.

Non-flash photography was allowed, so I took a large number of high-resolution photos of segments of those original works. This was to reference the artists' techniques in a manner not always easy to obtain from printed reproductions. (However, the exhibition catalog does feature a few large-scale detail reproductions.)

I thought that readers of this blog might also be interested in seeing the brushwork of master illustrators up close to increase their understanding of how the artists worked and perhaps to serve as inspiration for their own painting if they too are artists.

Below is an image of the entire illustration coupled with my work. Click on the latter to enlarge.

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Mary Washing Jesus' Feet - 1928

Cornwell's Brangwyn-based style features formal and informal selective outlining coupled with flat or modeled color areas within the outlines to create images. It is a kind of casual cloisonnism. Here Cornwell is using a good deal of pale blue along with darker versions of his subject's basic color to outline. What I have yet to figure out is the system for selecting outline colors in this and other works of this style by Brangwyn and many others active in the late 1800s and first decades of the 20th century. Does anyone know of a source for an explanation?

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