Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet Harvey Dunn

Here’s a two-minute video with archival footage of Harvey Dunn (1884-1952) as he paints a western character.

About the video
In the late 1940s, illustrator and teacher Frank Reilly visited the studios of the premier illustrators of his day and filmed their working methods. He used state-of-the-art color film equipment, and in some cases, sound. He filmed Dean Cornwell, Arthur William Brown, F. R. Gruger, Bradshaw Crandall, William Oberhardt, and Harvey Dunn. He called the series “Artists at Work.” The films have been lost for many years, and a few of them have recently resurfaced.

The purpose of the Artists at Work series, according to Reilly himself, was “to create a permanent collection of films that will be available to schools, societies, and museums.”

In June, 1948, American Artist magazine interviewed Reilly about the project. According to American Artist, Reilly said the series “is intended to impress upon us the accomplishments of those among us now and to perpetuate their memory for the inspiration of those who are to follow. Eventually the collection will be entrusted to some museum or foundation or society where it can continue indefinitely to serve the purpose of its founder. This is a strictly non-profit educational venture, Reilly investing in it thousands of dollars of his own savings and will never receive a penny of the income from rental fees charged for showing the films...The enterprise has been set up legally to assure its operation on this wholly altruistic basis.”

I’ve added a brief narration and some sound effects to this silent film. I would like to thank the teachers, institutions, and individuals who have helped preserve and share Mr. Reilly’s wonderful gift to the world of art.

Links for further reading
Direct link to this video on YouTube

Harvey Dunn is featured in a major new book written by illustration historian Walt Reed of Illustration House Galleries. You can find out more about the book called Harvey Dunn, Illustrator and Painter of the Pioneer West available at the publisher, Flesk Publications, or the South Dakota Art Museum museum. And the book is available only in limited quantities at Amazon.

Post about Dunn on David Apatoff’s "Illustration Art" blog.
Post about Dunn on Charley Parker's "Lines and Colors"
Biography of Dunn on Jim V's BPIB
Walt Reed’s Illustration House
South Dakota Art Museum website on Dunn
Wikipedia on Harvey Dunn
Previously on GJ:
Reilly and Beyond


Unknown said...

WOW! Thank you for sharing. I'm a hug Dunn fan and would never have thought there would be footage of him painting. I hope to see more of those films of the other artists you mentioned.
Thanks again-S.

Sean McMurchy said...

It was great to see your methods yesterday and this is also interesting. I am looking forward to more of your posts on your "video week" good narration by the way I only read latter that it was you I though it was part of the original documentary.

Super Villain said...

when you said it was a frank reilly film, i expected that was him narrating, but its you, very nicely done. both todays video and yesterdays video.

these are very well thought out and executed, quite a different theme then last year, haha, where is the unicycle painting and box puppets, haha.

i'm also very excited to hear the contest details!

James Gurney said...

Don't worry, Super Villain, the weirder and wackier videos are coming later on in Video Week!

Scott, yes, it's astounding to see a Pyle student actually painting, even if the quality of the film isn't too great (been copied too many times).

Sean, yes, I thought it needed some voice-over, and the video had to be edited down quite a bit because of length.

grobles63 said...

Really wonderful!! Always liked being able to see how an artist actually put's together or reinterpret what he see's. I would have loved to see the one on Grugger and on Cornwell. I had an instructor in college who was a student of Cornwell. She told us how he would take a petal and mix some color so that when he droped the petal in the paint it would match perfectly.

jaleen said...

Thanks for posting - I have been wondering who has the closest-to-original footage. If you know, I'd like to hear about it. And I'm thrilled you mentioned Walt's book - it might be his last.

Brad Teare said...

Great video and fantastic voice over. I have admired Dunn's work for years. It is great to see him at work at the easel.

Great entry as always.

Stephen Southerland said...

You made my day with this. What I would give to see video of N.C. Wyeth, Dean Cornwell, or J.C. Leyendecker at work.

Chaddeous said...

I'd heard tales of Dunn battering his canvases to the ground with the force of his brush. Interesting to actually see him doing just the opposite! I wish there was some magical footage from his younger days to see if the legends are true.

bval said...

I'm loving video week, James! Great to watch these right before my life painting class! thanks -B

Ray Bonilla said...

Mr.Gurney...thank you so much.Being able to see Harvey Dunn, one of my all time hero of illustration painting. left me speechless .

Ray Bonilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Howard said...

That was generous of you to research and post the videos. Thank You...RH