Thomas Browne Cornell Biography

Thomas Browne Cornell




Painter, printmaker, sculptor, and edcuator Thomas Browne Cornell was born on March 1, 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Norman Cornell and Betty Browne. He received his B.A. in Art from Amherst College and studied at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. Cornell was a Professor of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for two years before before joining the faculty at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1962, establishing the visual arts program at the college. In June of 2012, Cornell retired from teaching after 50 years as a professor at Bowdoin. He was appointed the Richard E. Steele Professor of Visual Arts in 2001.

Cornell began his career with drawings and etchings, which were widely distributed and were included in many fine art publications. Since the mid-1970s, Cornell dedicated himself primarily to oil painting. In his work, Cornell depicted communities of people interacting with nature. Against artistic trends, Cornell was committed to moral content, focusing on issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. His work spans printmaking, marble and bronze sculpture, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Cornell's work received considerable critical acclaim over the years, including a full-page review in the New York Times, which led the paper's weekend Arts section. Among his numerous honors was a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and election to the National Academy of Design. Cornell's work is included in the collections of museums across the country, including the Museum of Modern Art, art museums at Harvard and Princeton Universities, the National Museum of American Art, and the Beinecke Library at Yale University.

Thomas Browne Cornell died in Brunswick, Maine on Decembet 7, 2012

Selected solo exhibitions:
1961/'62: Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1965: Yale University Library, CT; Sabersky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; Williams College Museum of Art; Smith Glass Gallery, Northampton, MA
1966: Princeton University, NJ; Dartmouth College, Honover, NH; Tragos Gallery, Boston, MA
1967: Wesleyan University, CT; Fisk University, Nashville, TN
1968: Block Gallery, St. Louis, MO
1971: Bowdoin College, New Brunswick, ME; Princeton University, NJ (catalogue with intro by Marvin Sadik)
1972: Associated American Artists, New York, NY; Optik Gallery, Amherst, MA
1974: Daniel Grishman Gallery, Boston, MA
1976: Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA
1977: Barridoff Galleries, Portland, ME; University of Bridgeport, CT
1979: A.M. Sachs Gallery, New York, NY; University of Redlands, CA
1980: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
1981: A.M. Sachs Gallery
1987: Morehead Sate University, Claypool-Young Art Building, KY
1986/'89/'97: G.W. Einstein Company, New York, NY
1990: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bunswick, ME
2013: June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME (posthumous)
2021: "Thomas Cornell: A Visition Accomplished", retrospective, Zillman Art Museum (formerly University of Main Museum of Art), Bangor, ME

Selected awards, grants, and fellowships:
1960: New Haven Winter Show, first prize, drawing; New England Drawing Competition, Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, CT, first prize
1961: Louis Comfort Tiffany Award
1964: American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters exhibition award
1965: Archive established, Yale University Library, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
1966: Groiler Club, New York: elected to membership; exhibition and lecture; Fulbright Grant, Institute for International Education

1966/'67: National Endowment for the Arts, Arts and Humanities Fellowship
1969 - 1970: Ford Foundation Grant for the study and illustration of Euripides' Bacchae
1984: Elected to the National Academy of Design
1990: Maine Arts Commission, Artist-in-Residence program, Portland School of Art, Portland, ME
1991/'92: President, Union of Maine Visual Arts
1993: Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

A complete list of Cornell's exhibitions, publications, and commissions can be found on his website.