Austin, Wendell

Austin, Wendell Philip (1896-1966)

Wendell Austin was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1896 and educated in the public schools. He attended the Yale School of Fine Arts and in 1917 was an honor graduate. Just when he was about to receive the prestigious Prix-de-Rome, his ROTC was mobilized and sent to France. He spent the next two years on the Western Front and was a victim of mustard gas. He told a Milford newspaper reporter that his two years military service was a waste that delayed his development as an artist. Nevertheless, he visited some famous art schools while stationed in France. When he returned, he studied with Frank Dumond at the Art Students’ Leagues in Old Lyme and in New York City and married. In order to provide for his family, he worked as a commercial artist and started two syndicated newspaper features, A-MAZE A MINUTE and Round About New Haven. In 1940 the Austins moved to a house in Milford where he lived until his death. Austin ran his own school, The Austin School of Art and Design, in New Haven; and he taught at the Bridgeport Art League, the Bridgeport YWCA, and the Stratford Sterling House. Austin helped found the Milford Art League in 1950 and served as its first president. In later years he taught oil painting at Greens Farms in Westport and adult classes in oils and sketching at his home. He was a member of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club and the Salmagundi Club in New York City. For the WPA he painted a 144 square ft. oil on plaster mural known as the Gulliver’s Travel Series at Central School in Winsted, Connecticut. He was known for his portraits and exhibited his works throughout Connecticut. Austin died in 1966 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; AskART; “Wendell P. Austin Dies, One of Foremost Artists;” Sunday Milford Citizen, July 17, 1966; Entry for Austin, Wendell P. in Service Records of Connecticut Men and Women in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War, 1917-1920, Volume 3, p. 2909.

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Wendell Austin:

Gulliver Tied to Ground: oil on plaster
Gulliver Amongst the Giants: oil on plaster
Gulliver Taken by Eagle: oil on plaster
Gulliver’s Escape from Brobdingnag: oil on plaster
Gulliver Discovered at Sea: oil on plaster
Gulliver Released and Returned: oil on plaster
Austin, Wendell