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Famous Artists School

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Title: Famous Artists School  
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Subject: Li'l Abner, Al Capp, Wilton, Connecticut, Stevan Dohanos, Fred Ludekens
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Famous Artists School

Famous Artists School
Industry Education
Genre Art
Founded 1948
Founder Albert Dorne
Headquarters Wilton, Connecticut
Key people
Norman Rockwell
Parent Cortina Learning International
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.


  • History 1
  • Original courses 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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, but due to the society's legal status, could not be operated by it. Society member Albert Dorne led the initiative to set up a separate entity, and recruited the support of Norman Rockwell, who was also a society 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. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Extract archived online; search "Famous" for cited pp. 72-73:

External links

  • ; Old URL
  • . Sample pages and discussion of volume 24 of the 1960 (second) edition of the Famous Artists Course, Television art, written by former Disney Studios animator and first (1938) television commercial producer, Chad Grothkopf.
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