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An example of work by Mervin Allen Corning
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Mervin Allen Corning was born and raised in Santa Ana, California and started his career after WWII in San Francisco (1945). WWII interrupted Corning’s senior year of high school when his parents moved from Santa Ana to San Francisco. Corning joined the Merchant Marines at age 17 and remained until the end of the war.|
Corning’s interest in drawing and painting was maintained throughout his early years. But his first experience as a working artist began as an illustrator for a Bay-area drug company chain. In less than two years Corning was working as an art director for a prominent San Francisco advertising agency. Around 1949, Corning accepted a job as a men’s fashion artist for a major department store in Los Angeles.
Corning’s versatility carried him into a broader range of illustration. In the years ahead he joined a professional group of artists who pooled their talents and formed the corporation, Studio Artists. He was president of the corporation until his retirement.
During Corning’s years at Studio Artists, he was commissioned by Leach Corporation to create several paintings depicting famous aerial combat scenes, the airplanes of WWI and the men that flew them. The success of his artwork inspired a total of 44 paintings, later featured in a special exhibit at the Pentagon. Ten of the paintings remain in the permanent collection at the Air Force Museum. Although Corning became known as “the guy who paints old airplanes”, these subjects represent only a small portion of his versatility.
For example, Corning’s many portraits of National Football League football players are equally famous with more than 300 subjects created in the last 30 plus years, aka “the guy who paints those football players”. In May 2012, his portrait of Pittsburgh Steeler player, Mel Blount, was added to the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Like most illustrators, Corning had an overwhelming desire for the freedom to paint the things he enjoyed most. For example: Victorian houses, still life, people and landscapes. In 1969, he fazed himself out of Studio Artists and commercial endeavors and devoted his time to fine art painting and commissions.
Corning’s crafted works of art reflect the dedication he has for drawing and painting and his painstaking attention to detail.
ART IN MUSEUMS AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS: NUMBER OF PAINTINGS
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum-1
The Canton Art Museum-2
National Portrait Gallery-1
The National Football Museum (Hall of Fame)-10
The Automobile Club of Southern California (Westways)-20
National Museum of The U.S. Air Force-15
Art Rooney Jr.-over 40
The Dallas Cowboys ~ “Ring of Honor”-22
National Football League-over 100
The Leach Corporation/Esterline Corporation-36
Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church-20
Planning Research Corporation (Los Angeles)-6
Bank of Nevada-3
California State Park Foundation-2
Hearst Castle, San Simeon-2
The New York Giants-8
The San Diego Chargers-2
The Nut Tree Collections- Mr. Ed Power-5
The Blue Cross Collection-1
Ford Motor Company-1
Denny’s Americana Collection-1
The Los Angeles Dodgers-4
Heinz History Center Museum-1
1961: WWI Airplanes “Heritage of the Air” - USAF Archives, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
1977: “Portraits Shows”- The American Institute of Graphic Arts, N.Y.
1979: “American Artists Today” – Gakuin College Museum, Tokyo, Japan
1981: “International Artists in Watercolor” – Mall Galleries, London, England
1981: “Champions of Sports” – National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.
1989: “Gameday” – The Canton Art Museum, Canton, Ohio
1990: “Corning’s NFL Portraits” – Tampa Bay Center, Tampa, Florida
1991: “American Society of Aviation Artists” – Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, England
1994: “A Collection of Westways Cover Art from the Automobile Club of Southern California Peterson Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
1997: Bakersfield Kern County Museum
San Bernardino County Museum
“Nut Tree Remembered” – Vacaville Museum, Vacaville, CA
1998: Santa Barbara Historical Museum
1996: San Diego Museum of History
“Merv Corning Retrospective” – Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, CA
2000: “20th Century Showcase of Art” Santa Barbara County Artists – Elverhoj Museum, Solvang CA
2003: Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida.
2006: “The Heritage of the Air” Collection – The Museum of Flight, Seattle WA
2008: “Merv Corning Retrospective” – Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, CA
2010: “Scenic View Ahead”, Westways Cover Art – Pasadena Museum of California Art
2011: “Scenic View Ahead”, Westways Cover Art – Wildling Museum of Art, Los Olivos CA
“Island Encounters”, Channel Islands – Wildling Museum of Art
2012: “Art of the Steelers”, Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh PA
1961: Des Moines Sunday Register
Leach News – WWI series
1963: Argosy Magazine – WWI series
1977: Southwest Art magazine
American Artists magazine
1978: NFL PRO! magazine
1979: The Mylar Method Manifesto – The New Lithography
1980: Art Voices South
1984: Meridian Publishers
1988: Southwest Art magazine
1991: Legends Magazine
1992: Robb Report Magazine
1993: Great American Aviation Artists magazine
Team NFL magazine
1994: Legends Magazine – Sports Memorabilia
1997: U.S. Art Magazine
1999: Inside the Santa Ynez Valley magazine
2002: Montecito Magazine – cover and inside story, Spring Ed.
2003: Foundation Magazine – Naval Aviation, spring Ed.
2006: King County Journal – Museum of Flight Show
2009: Westways Magazine – “One of a Kind”
Over 65 magazines have reproduced Merv Corning’s artwork, including: Aviation Week, Gameday, Life, Time, Reader’s Digest, Art & Antiques, Architectural Digest, L.A. Magazine, Super Bowl and Foundation Naval Aviation, Westways Magazine.
Lisa Young, niece of the artist
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