The Norman Rockwell Museum was sad to learn of the recent passing of illustration historian, Walter Arnold Reed on March 18, 2015 at his home in Westport, CT. Reed is the author of many books on American illustration, including The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 (2001), the invaluable chronological compendium of illustrators and their art which has updated and re-issued several times, and most recently, Harvey Dunn: Illustrator and Painter of the Pioneer West (2010). He is also the founder of Illustration House, a respected New York City art gallery that has promoted and encouraged serious consideration of the art of illustration for almost 40 years.
Through Mr. Reed’s generous encouragement, others have forged careers as curators and historians, and as collectors of the illustration arts. His writings, which reflect his vast knowledge about the history of illustration and individual American illustrators, have established a significant base of scholarship, and have spurred appreciation and understanding. His work has been particularly inspirational to curators at the Norman Rockwell Museum, who have benefited from his knowledge and expertise.
On June 12, 2012, the Norman Rockwell Museum Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies presented its first Distinguished Scholar Award to Walt Reed, a renowned scholar, author, and art historian, in recognition for his lifelong commitment to scholarship relating to the art of illustration. In the words of noted American illustrator Tom Lovell, Walt Reed “saved illustration” by preserving and presenting original works of art created for publication that would otherwise have been lost.
“With this tribute, we highlight Walt Reed’s lifelong commitment to scholarship relating to the art of illustration,” noted Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “Through his encouragement, others have pursued careers related to the illustration arts. Reed’s encyclopedic knowledge about the field has inspired all who have had the opportunity to meet him, and his generous sharing of that information has enticed others to preserve the beauty and wonder of this important American art form.”
In November 2013, Walt Reed donated his illustration archive to Washington University. To find out more about this collection go to Modern Graphic History Library.