But look closely... what you are seeing are Legacy Books. These are "FAAC" (Famous Artists' Advance Course) volumes in the Famous Artists School.... These titles are fragile, hard to ship, and scarce, but in great demand with our professional artist patrons. Why?? For most of artists who were faculty members for Famous Artists School correspondence courses, no other books were ever produced that document their work and/or creative process.
"America's most famous artists have spent a lot of their time, thought and energy in putting down for you in words and pictures all the ideas and methods they use in making pictures....we are confident you will find it fully expresses the man and his work, and is designed so you can readily understand his way of thinking about picture-making."
The Famous Artists School's Advanced Program which started in 1948 consisted of ten separate volumes/binders each written and illustrated by a different faculty member (John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Al Parker, Ben Stahl, Harold Von Schmidt, Jon Whitcomb). It only lasted for a few years before school president Albert Dorne cancelled the program due to low enrollment and had all the material incinerated (according to an instructor at the school at the time) resulting in the scarcity of the remaining volumes.
Famous Artists School has offered correspondence courses in art since it was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by Albert Dorne as a result of a conversation with Norman Rockwell. For the founding faculty, Dorne recruited John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Al Parker, Norman Rockwell, Ben Stahl, Harold von Schmidt and Jon Whitcomb. All were making more than US$ 50,000 a year at the time, roughly equivalent to US $425,000 in 2006. Later faculty included cartoonists Al Capp, Milt Caniff and Rube Goldberg. Advisory faculty for the school later included Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, Fletcher Martin, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee.
Original 1948 courses
The original courses offered in 1948 were Painting, Illustration/Design and Cartooning. The Cartooning course was dropped in the 1980s. The Painting and Illustration & Design courses are still offered. Each course consists of 24 lessons, with a new lesson mailed to the student upon completion of each lesson. When a student completed and returned the assignment, it was critiqued by a professional artist who sent suggestions back to the student. The original 1948 price for the two-year course was $300, payable in monthly installments, plus an estimated $11.55 for basic oil painting supplies.
As of 2007, the school offered four courses: Acrylic Painting; Oil and Watercolor Painting; Illustration & Design; and a Course for Talented Young People. Cartoonists Lyman Anderson, Jay Disbrow, Graham Ingels and Bernie Wrightson are alumni of the school, as are artists and illustrators Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, Robert Heindel, Franklin McMahon, Charles Reid, Dolph LeMoult and Hank McLaughlin.
The Famous Artists School was acquired by Cortina Learning International of Weston, Connecticut in 1981.