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Serenading Cowboy

Dean Cornwell

Serenading Cowboy, 1920

Water-based Paint on Paper


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Stiefel 

Dean Cornwell was a 20th century American illustrator, cartoonist, and muralist. Beginning his career as an illustrator at age 18, Cornwell contributed to publications by Pearl S. Buck, Ernest Hemingway, Edna Forber, and others. He also provided artwork for numerous national publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping. Cornwell produced murals throughout the U.S. and Britain, bringing his dynamic use of color and formal composition to a larger scale. Because of the limited space available in illustrations, Cornwell’s style was dependent on carefully planned images. He was known for creating numerous paper studies before finally putting his ideas to canvas: pieces like the Serenading Cowboy are the result of careful consideration on Cornwell’s part. 

Current Condition of the Artwork:

The painting is executed on cardboard that is deteriorated and brittle. The cardboard’s bottom left corner has a complex break that is poorly and incompletely mended with overlapping strips of masking tape. There are splits in the back layers of the board, located on the back bottom right, that are not mended. The painting appears to be in good condition. 

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • A Paintings Conservator may be consulted regarding the oil paint, although the paint appears to be in good condition.
  • Test/remove masking and paper tape.
  • Remove and discard matte.
  • Clean surface.
  • Mend/reinforce with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste.
  • Humidify and flatten.
  • All materials used will be appropriate and conservation quality. All work will adhere to the highest standards of the field.

Estimated Cost of Treatment:   $2,000.00