Famous Artists School

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Famous Artists School
Industry Education
Genre Art
Founded 1948
Founder Albert Dorne
Headquarters Wilton, Connecticut
Key people
Norman Rockwell
Parent Cortina Learning International
Website ArtHomeStudy.com
Robert Fawcett illustrated this cover for Famous Artists Magazine (Spring 1959).

Famous Artists School is an art correspondence course institution, in operation since 1948. The school was founded by members of the New York Society of Illustrators, principally Albert Dorne and Norman Rockwell.


The Famous Artists School was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by members of the New York Society of Illustrators (SOI), but due to the Society's legal status, could not be operated by it. SOI member Albert Dorne led the initiative to set up a separate entity, and recruited the support of Norman Rockwell, who was also an SOI member. For the founding faculty, Dorne recruited John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Al Parker, Norman Rockwell, Ben Stahl, Harold von Schmidt and Jon Whitcomb. All were making more than US$ 50,000 a year at the time.

Later faculty included cowboy artist Harvey W. Johnson and cartoonists Roger Vernon, Al Capp, Milt Caniff and Rube Goldberg. Advisory faculty for the school later included Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, Fletcher Martin, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee.

The Famous Artists School was acquired by Cortina Learning International of Wilton, Connecticut, in 1981.

In 2014 the archives were donated to the Norman Rockwell Museum.[1][2]

Original courses

The original courses offered in 1948 were Painting, Illustration/Design and Cartooning. The Painting and Illustration & Design courses, which are still offered, consisted of 24 lessons, with a new lesson mailed to the student upon completion of the previous lesson. When a student completed and returned the assignment, it was critiqued by a professional artist who sent suggestions back to the student.

The original 1948 price for the three-year course was $200, payable in monthly installments, and veterans could use the GI Bill.[3] By the 1950s the price was $300, plus an estimated $11.55 for basic oil painting supplies.[4]

See also


  1. Kennedy, Randy (March 23, 2014). "The Draw of a Mail-Order Art School: Famous Artists School Archives Go to Norman Rockwell Museum". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "In The News: Famous Artists School Archives". Norman Rockwell Museum. Retrieved 23 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Solomon, Deborah (2013). ""We're Looking for People Who Like to Draw" (October 1948)". American Mirror: the Life and Art of Norman Rockwell. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 243. ISBN 0374113092.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Marling, Karal Ann (1994). As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0674048836.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Extract archived online; search "Famous" for cited pp. 72-73: Marling, Karal Ann. "Hyphenated Culture: Painting by Numbers in the New Age of Leisure". Le Salon de PAINT-BY-NUMBERS. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links