Gerard Curtis Delano
Gerard Curtis Delano (1890-1972)
Gerard Curtis Delano was born in Marion, Massachusetts, the descendant of a 1621 Pilgrim. He began studying art in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and later became the pupil of George Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York and of Dean Cornwell, Harvey Dunn and N.C. Wyeth at the Grand Central School of Art. Following his education he became a successful commercial artist and illustrator working mostly in New York City until WWI.
Delano first visited the West in 1919, working as a hand on a Colorado ranch. Around the age of thirty he homesteaded at Cataract Creek in Colorado, building his own dirt-roof studio. He devoted much of his time to painting and commuted to New York for commercial art assignments. In 1933 during the Great Depression, he sold everything and moved west permanently. Later in 1936, he sold to Western Story Magazine a series of illustrated articles on the development of the West. After 1940, Delano was able to finally spend all of his time painting. In 1943 he visited the Navajo Reservation: "Arizona's picturesque settings provide to my mind the greatest possible opportunity for pictorial beauty. The people are themselves naturally artistic. I feel a great sympathy for them. They have survived a life of hardship, yet have done so with heads held proudly high." His feelings for the Navajo and their culture were so strong that he painted them almost exclusively for the remainder of his days, his art exceptional for the superior sense of design, color, and simplicity of composition.