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Gerard Curtis Delano (American, 1890-1972)
Born on Cape Cod, Delano's New England childhood could not have been more distant from the West he would seek as an adult. The son of a sea captain, Delano was enamored with images of the exotic West and began sketching them at an early age. It was one of these early illustrations that he was able to sell to Lifemagazine which opened the door to his future career. Delano pursued formal art training first at the Swaine Free School of Design and the Art Students League before studying at the Grand Central School of Art in New York. While there, he studied with titans of illustration Dean Cornwell, Harvey Dunn, and N.C. Wyeth. These three mentors greatly influenced Delano's mature style, and each left their lasting mark. In Delano's paintings we cannot help but notice the strong sense of narrative instilled by Cornwell, the emotional depth of Dunn, and the subtlety of Wyeth.
Despite having moved to Colorado in 1919, it was not until 1943 that Delano made his first trip to the Southwest. The impact that the visit had on Delano would redirect his artistic future. His visit to the Navajo reservation was such an inspiring event that it forever altered his painting. Delano was so inspired by the people, their lifestyle, and the richness of their cultural tradition that they were to help define his mature style. Towards the end of his career, Delano's cylindrical figures and pastel palette became as recognizable as his signature.
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