When illustrator Harvey Dunn passed away in 1952, his obituary in The New York Times bore the headline Harvey Dunn, 68, Artist, Instructor.
A three-month event opening Friday, July 1, at the Hunter Museum of American Art will check out the artistic and teaching profession of this icon of late 19th- and early 20th-century American illustration, whose work had enormous impact on the way Americans saw their lives represented. Masters of the Golden era: Harvey Dunn and His Students will continue through Sunday, Oct. 2.
The 80-piece exhibition highlights Dunns spectacular, painterly illustrations for the popular periodicals of his day, consisting of Scribners, Harpers, Colliers Weekly, Century, Trip and The Saturday Evening Post. Rich in information and color, these illustrations enabled audiences to imagine present events and stories in newspapers and magazines in the period prior to photography rose to prominence.
The exhibition also features effective works produced for the American Expeditionary Forces throughout World War I, in which the artist, as visual journalist, tape-recorded the memorable realities of battlegrounds and war health centers. Furthermore, the collection consists of Dunns prairie paintings, influenced by his lifelong love of South Dakotas landscape and history.
The exhibit also features original artworks by several of Dunns trainees, including Dean Cornwell, Henry C. Pitz, Mead Schaeffer, Harold von Schmidt, Frank Street, Saul Tepper, John Clymer, Lyman Anderson and James E. Allen. Art works are drawn from the collection of the South Dakota Art Museum, as well as the Kelly Collection of American Illustration Art, The Illustrated Gallery, the Eisenstat Collection of American Illustration, Norman Rockwell Museum, Collection of Carol and Murray Tinkelman and other personal lenders.
The exhibit is a collaboration of Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., and the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings. Stephanie Plunkett, the chief manager and deputy director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, remains in town for the opening. She will offer the very first event in programming related to the exhibition. Her Art Wise program, arranged tonight, June 30, offers insights into Dunns tradition.