Harvey Dunn is best remembered as a brilliant illustrator, one of America’s greatest, whose career spanned four decades beginning in the 1910s. Around this time illustrators were in great demand; many were celebrities, caught up in a nation’s insatiable appetite for information and entertainment through magazines. This was illustration’s “Golden Age”.
Almost forgotten is that Harvey Dunn was a great teacher who, with unbound love and enthusiasm, ardently committed himself to sharing his knowlege for over three decades. Dunn’s innate artistic talent realized its full potential after practically applying the ideas and ideals taught him by Howard Pyle—ideas and ideals that subsisted as the bedrock of Dunn’s own teachings. It is said that Dunn’s own personal mesmerism even surpassed Howard Pyle’s. Like Pyle, Dunn taught a philosophy of life more than he taught art and from his imposing frame his knack for saying what a person needed to hear was legend. His words made irrefutable by his existence.
He taught as his credo that the student must understand that to make a picture useful it must have as its motive some feeling that is universal in the hearts of men who are all brothers in that they go through life with the same hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows. No other art school of Dunn’s era has had a greater influence on American illustration and what more can anyone say upon reviewing the fruits of his tutelage: Dean Cornwell, Arthur Fuller, Frank Street, Grant Reynard, Clark Fay, Mead Schaeffer, Amos Sewell, Albin Henning, J.E. Allen, Lyman Anderson, Steven Kidd, Lealand Gustavson, Mario Cooper, Harold Von Schmidt, and Saul Tepper, to name a few.
George Fernandez, Professor, SUNY–Farmingdale