An Untitled Treasure
By Lisa Goulet, Collections Manager
In January 2019, the Museum received a generous gift made by Kent D. and Tina K Worley. This collection spans the breadth of material culture from and about the Revolutionary Era, including military and tavern-related artifacts, art, documents, and maps, including this mysterious print by David. K. Stone.
This print is thus far only identifiable by the signature in the bottom right corner, inscribed “DK Stone,” and by the style characteristic of the artist’s lithography practice. Illustrator David K. Stone was prolific, contributing art for children’s books, pulp sci-fi novels, popular magazines, and collectible stamps. Though he was a successful illustrator and president of the Society of Illustrators in the mid-twentieth century, little is published about Stone or his work, bringing into question how we value and write the histories of different art forms.
Scattered records of Stone’s magazine illustration work online have been compiled predominantly by print enthusiasts and prints of his large format lithographs are available in abundance through online specialty art retailers. Curiously, his biography on art print retailers appears identically across many companies:
Virtually everyone -- stamp collectors included -- has at one time or another enjoyed the work of award-winning artist David K. Stone. His paintings have appeared in many of America's leading magazines, among them The Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest and American Heritage. He was one of the handful of distinguished artists chosen to design America's postage stamps and is remembered for stamps he designed for the ground-breaking History of World War II series issued by the Marshall Islands.
One of America's top artists and illustrators, Stone possessed a rare talent that enabled him to capture humor and sentiment in a manner that everyone, young or old, enjoyed, and his works are in the permanent collections of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Postal Service, National Air and Space Administration, International Aerospace Hall of Fame and New York City's Museum of American Illustration.
Born in Oregon, but attracted to the bright lights of the "Big Apple," where he received his formal art education and spent most of his long career, Stone always retained the easy going nature of his western roots, and was always ready to mentor young artists --- whether fellow members of the Society of Illustrators or aspiring high school and college art students. He worked more than 20 years on his monumental series Pioneers of Flight -- more than 120 paintings -- and painted every U.S. President through Clinton.
Yet, this information is difficult to verify due to a lack of documentation in databases like the Library of Congress. As prolific as Stone was, few museums have published records of his work in their collections.