Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Closer Look : Dean Cornwell

-By Dan dos Santos

Every year, Heritage Auctions, the third largest auction house in the world, holds an auction of classic American illustration. One of the coolest things about this auction is the preview. Not only are there a lot of pieces you will not see elsewhere, but Heritage consistently posts amazingly high resolution scans of the works available. These scans are a great opportunity to get up close and personal with some of your favorite painters.

As painters, we are always encouraged to step back and view one's picture as a whole. But there is equal value in doing the opposite. Every now and then, it's great to zoom in, and live in the details... where every single brushstroke shows intention. Suddenly, seemingly unimportant passages turn into amazing microcosms of paint.

Today, we have for you a few excerpts of Dean Cornwell paintings found in this year's auction. Click on the details below to view the entire painting in high resolution.


  1. Great post! Such great photos with awesome detail. It reminds me of a project google started called art project:
    Its basically an online collection of art from various museums around the world but you can also zoom in really close to the pieces to check out details. :)

  2. Wow. Are these images directly from his work? How privileged to see these pieces in person with your own eyes.

    Dean Cornwell is my all-time artist Hero. His bold and infinite play with design of every inch of figure and object is astounding. I will forever be a student of his creative sense.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Wow... That man is just good. Thanks for the post!

  4. The hi-res scans from the Heritage auction pieces are the best.
    Details from many great illustrator's pieces can be studied up close; including those of Elvegren, Tom Lovell, Harvey Dunn, Mead Schaeffer, etc... A great way to burn an afternoon!

  5. Love, love love Dean Cornwell!

    Had the privilege to his works at an American Illustrators show at the Dahesh Museum (in NYC) some time ago. Also showcased the works of Charles Dana Gibson, J.C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle, Norman Rockwell, Jessie Willcox Smith, and N.C. Wyeth.

    What a show. Simply great.


  6. Cornwell is one of my all time heroes. If you don't have the Patricia Broder book on Cornwell released by Collectors Press a few years ago, it's well worth tracking down. It's out of print but a few copies are still out there for under $100. I wish more of the reproductions were color, but still worth having as it's the only Cornwell book in existence.

  7. I like these close ups. Thanks for posting.


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