Monday, February 16, 2009

The Famous Artist's Painting Course


The Famous Artist Course

I was fortunate enough to purchase three volumes of the Famous Artists Course from 1953. There is no doubt that I was extremely excited to find these; let alone win them on ebay. And all for a reasonable price of $58.00! These antiques are lessons from some of the most famous artists of the Golden Age of Illustration. With lessons ranging from oil to watercolor painting, compositional to pictorial design, and anatomy to animal drawing; I'm sure I'll be busy reviewing these treasures for years to come.

The Famous Artists School was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut. The idea was to take 12 of the most famous artists of the time and create courses that anyone could take. This was during the time of the Golden Age of Illustration and famous aritsts would receive $50,000 a year roughly equivalent to $425,000. There is no doubt they were rock stars of their day.

The course was first conceived by Albert Dorne while having a conversation with Norman Rockwell. The famous artists were Norman Rockwell, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Ben Stahl, Harold von Schmidt, Al Parker, Austin Briggs, Jon Whitcomb, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Jon Atherton and Albert Dorne. After the user bought the first lessons for $300, they would complete assignments after a section and sent it in to the Famous Artists School. A professional would critique their work and send it back to them with a typed letter and a short biography of the artist. I was fortunate enough to also receive an old Famous Artists Painting Course Portfolio and original two critiques that I plan on posting in a future post.

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