LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS: THE FAMOUS ARTISTS SCHOOL

July 8 through November 19, 2017

Learning from the Masters: The Famous Artists School offers a lively, inspirational exploration of the creative methods of America’s most highly regarded illustrators, whose influential artworks reached millions on the covers and pages of the nation’s most popular publications. The engaging lessons, sage advice, and creative approaches featured in this exhibition reflect those of the Famous Artists School founders—twelve exceptional visual communicators who achieved legendary status in their time.

Wishing to ensure that aspiring illustrators would inherit the traditions, skills, and professionalism that they had gleaned through years of experience, the founding illustrators, led by Al Dorne, launched this popular distance learning course in 1948. Based in Westport, Connecticut—which had been an artist’s colony since the 1920s—the Famous Artists School became America’s most popular art correspondence school during the Post-War era, serving as many as 60,000 students at the time. Its in-depth volumes gave practical how-to instruction in the unique working methods of John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Al Parker, Norman Rockwell, Harold von Schmidt, Ben Stahl, and Jon Whitcomb. Though Dorne’s personal volume was never issued, his commentary appeared later, when selected lessons were compiled in four-volume sets focusing on narrative picturemaking, from idea to finished illustration. Through the years, the course was updated with new lessons and famous artists, and even sold door-to-door. Advertisements designed to attract students were featured prominently in magazines and comic books, often featuring a likeness of Norman Rockwell with the tag line: “We’re looking for people who love to draw…”

Norman Rockwell Museum is the fortunate beneficiary of a substantial collection of original art and archival materials from the school’s most recent owners, Magdalen and Robert Livesey. In the process of being digitized and shared online for study and enjoyment, the collection reveals both the creative approaches of these artists and the ways in which art was viewed as a viable path to a fulfilling and successful life—literally, “A Richer Life Through Art.”

A special event this summer will celebrate the publication of Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School: Classic Techniques and Expert Tips from the Golden Age of Illustration, published by Quarry/Quarto Books. Co-authored by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director/Chief Curator, Norman Rockwell Museum, and Magdalen Livesey.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Original illustrations and studies by Norman Rockwell, Harold von Schmidt, John Atherton, Al Parker, Al Dorne, Fred Ludekens, Ben Stahl, Peter Helck, Stevan Dohanos, Jon Whitcomb, Austin Briggs, and Robert Fawcett will be on view.

IMAGES

Norman Rockwell in his Stockbridge, Massachusetts, studio surrounded by his many studies for Art Critic. Bill Scovill 1955
Head Construction 1
[Development of a face] Albert Dorne
Head Construction 2
[Development of a face] Albert Dorne

Head Construction 3
[Development of a face] Albert Dorne

Head Construction 4
[Development of a face] Albert Dorne

Woman's Home Companion

Cover illustration for Woman’s Home Companion, July 1938, John Atherton, Gouache on board

Study for Up Stepped McGonigle

Study for Up Stepped McGonigle by John and Ward Hawkins, Fred Ludekens Saturday Evening Post, January 13, 1951, Pencil on paper

Man with shovel sequence

Man with shovel sequence, Robert Fawcett, gouache on board

Woman in Stages of Development Whitcomb
Whitcomb, Woman in Stages of Development

RELATED EVENTS

Sep 14

Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School

September 14 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Oct 19

Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School

October 19 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

VENUE(S)

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA      April 8 through September 4, 2017

HOURS

Norman Rockwell Museum
is Open 7 days a week year-round

May – October and holidays:
open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.

Rockwell's Studio Open:
May 1 through November 5, 2017

November – April: open daily:
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday Closings
The Museum is Closed:

  •    Thanksgiving Day
  •    Christmas Day
  •    New Year's Day

ADMISSION

Members: FREE
Kids 18 and under FREE
Adults $20
Seniors (65+): $18
Veterans: $17
College students with ID: $10

Museums for All
Free admission with SNAP/EBT Card for up to 4 guests per card. LEARN MORE

Blue Star Families
Active Military / Blue Star Program
Free admission with ID. LEARN MORE

DIRECTIONS

Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA 01262
413-298-4100 x 221

Download a Printable version of Driving Directions (acrobat PDF).

Important note: Many GPS and online maps do not accurately place Norman Rockwell Museum*. Please use the directions provided here and this map image for reference. Google Maps & Directions are correct! http://maps.google.com/

* Please help us inform the mapping service companies that incorrectly locate the Museum; let your GPS or online provider know and/or advise our Visitor Services office which source provided faulty directions.

Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 South to Stockbridge. Turn right onto Route 102 West and follow through Main Street Stockbridge. Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 North into Stockbridge. Turn left onto Route 102 West at the stop sign next to The Red Lion Inn. Shortly after you make the left turn, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

Boston (two-and-a-half hours) or Springfield (one hour):
Take the Ma ssachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

from Albany and west: (one hour) Take I-90 east to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

(two-and-a-half hours) Take either the New York State Thruway or the Taconic State Parkway to I-90 East. Follow I-90 East to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

(one-and-a-half hours) Take I-91 North to the Massachusetts Turnpike. Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

(five minutes)
Go west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.

2017-07-21T14:58:34+00:00