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Albert Dorne: About

Albert Dorne

Illustrator, founder and first president of the Famous Artists School of Westport, CT


Who was Albert Dorne?

Illustrator Albert Dorne was born in the slums of New York’s Lower East Side. Despite childhood afflictions with tuberculosis, heart trouble, and poverty, his dream was to become an artist. After finishing the seventh grade, Dorne’s formal education came to a halt, as he needed to find work to support his mother, two sisters, and younger brother. At the age of thirteen, he managed four newsstands in New York; at fourteen, he became an office boy with a movie chain; at fifteen he was a salesman for another movie chain.

At sixteen, Dorne was married and began to worry that the career he had planned in art was slipping away. To get started, he took a job without pay in an artist’s studio as a general handyman working from nine to five and simultaneously took another job as a shipping clerk, working from midnight to nine in the morning. When Dorne was close to seventeen he became, for a short period, a professional fighter, winning ten bouts. In his eleventh fight, a veteran flattened him and Dorne decided boxing was not the road to becoming an artist. 

Finally, he began working for advertising accounts, and his art began to appear in national magazines such as Life, Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Look, and Liberty. At age 22, he was earning $500 a week. Through the 1930s and 1940s, he became the highest paid, and most sought-after, artist in the country. He made a series of colorful advertisements for The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in the whirlwind national advertising campaign of 1946–1948, initiated by general sales manager, Mike G. Hammergren and industrial designer Paul M. Fuller.  Continue reading from Society Illustrators

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