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Courtney Allen (1896-1969)
Original Oil Painting on Board - Illustration Cover Art
Circa - 1940's-early 50's
A gorgeous original painting on board. . Most likely an illustration for one of the many magazine covers he did for such national publications as Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, American, This Week, Field and Stream and True to name a few. This exquisite portrait of a military or ship's officer and young woman embracing in a ship's cabin is one of the best I have seen from him. Rich colors, exceptional detail, and obvious overwhelming passion. A beauty with universal appeal. Signed lower right. See bio below.
Courtney Allen was born in Norfolk, Virginia. At age fifteen he quit high school and moved to Dayton, Ohio where he worked in a commercial art studio to help family finances. He later moved to Washington D.C where he took a job with the art department of the former Washington Times and began his formal instruction at the Corcoran Art School. He also studied at the National School of Fine and Applied Art and at the National Academy in New York City.
In the summer of 1919 he enrolled at the Hawthorne School of Art in Provincetown on Cape Cod, to study the Hawthorne method. He returned in 1920 and 1921 to study with W.H. Bicknell, creating a series of Provincetown paintings and etchings. It was the beginning of a long relationship with the Outer Cape.
In 1921 he met his wife, Erma who had also been a student at the Corcoran School of Art. They were married in April 1924 and had one child, Elizabeth. Beginning in 1927, the Allen's returned faithfully every summer to their Truro house where Courtney painted. Allen was a friend of Norman Rockwell, who's work he greatly admired. He was also a contemporary of artists John Whorf, Edward Penfield, and Jerry Farnsworth, the renowned portrait artist who ran a painting school in North Truro. Erma and Courtney collected the work of these and other Cape Cod artists during this time.
During the late 1920's they lived in New Rochelle and Allen established himself as a New York City commercial artist and one of the top illustrators in the country. Over the next thirty years, his illustrations appeared in many books and periodicals including Cosmopolitan, Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, American, This Week, Field and Stream and True magazines . His method of illustration usually began with photographs of models dressed in costume, then an oil painting on board, which was subsequently photographed and used to illustrate stories in the many magazines that commissioned his work. Some of the paintings were full color, some in shades of gray, black and white so that they would reproduce well when color illustrations were not needed.
During WWII, Allen was drafted as an artist and spent the war years painting camouflage, in addition to more than 400 charcoal drawings of hospitalized war veterans.
Erma and Courtney moved to Truro permanently in 1951. The last twenty years of his life were devoted to expanding his versatile artistic gifts. Although he still illustrated books for Boston publishers, Allen was increasingly drawn to three-dimensional art forms. Allen transitioned naturally from his highly realistic renderings in two-dimension to carvings of waterfowl and documentary models. His sculptural and illustration works can be seen locally in the Provincetown Pilgrim Monument and Museum, the Provincetown Art Association Museum and the Highland House Museum in Truro, where an entire room is dedicated to Allen, the first President of the Truro Historical Society who as instrumental in creating the museum.
Truro Fine Art Studio carries both paintings and drawing by Courtney Allen
* See enlargeable images above abd below..