Pulp Western Bandito cover art painting by the great magazine illustrator Earl Somers Cordrey. Frame measures 34″ x 26″, canvas 30″ x 22″. Earl Somers Cordrey (1902 – 1977).
The following biography, dated February 2004, is by his daughter, Sandra, whose references include material in the Palm Springs Public Library by Dean Horst:
Born September 6, 1902 in Piru, California, he grew up Los Angeles, California. After high school, he studied at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles in the early 1920’s. Earl was a freelance artist in the Sam Hyde Harris studio, in L.A. working for major magazines. He married his wife Catherine (Kay), August 1, 1926 and they moved to New York City in 1927. He studied at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City (late 1920s,early 1930s), then worked as a professional illustrator for the Hearst magazines (Cosmopolitan, Redbook, etc.) into the1930s. His only chid, a daughter, Sandra, was born May 6,1933.
He worked as a commercial illustrator for Crowell/Colliers Publishing, (Collier’s) doing drawings for magazine covers, and short stories, most notably, some by F Scott Fitzgerald from the 30s-40s. In New York, he also worked free-lance, as an illustrator and painter, often in the romance genre. He did many post cards of the famous Stork Club. He also did regular covers for American Weekly magazine.
In 1942, he moved back to Southern California, to escape the hectic city life, for a more calm Palm Springs desert life. During the later 1940’s he continued his illustrations for postcards, books, and magazines, and painted for his own pleasure. He helped start the Palm Springs Life Magazine, as art director, and was their original logo creator (early 1950’s).
Earl was a regular at the Veteran’s Hospital, (formerly the El Mirador), where he would sketch many WW II patients, to boost spirits. He also designed the city of Palm Spring, CA. official seal. He designed actor William Holden’s famed Mount Kenyan Safari Cluband and did the original logo for the famous Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA.
In 1951, he retired from professional illustrating, and concentrated on desert paintings of their people and landscape. He did watercolors, and oils, mostly on smaller canvas.
During the 1950’s & 1960’s, he painted and taught. He also had a permanent show of oils and watercolors in Laguna, Palm Desert, and many cities in Mexico. He traveled back and forth through 1960’s-1970’s between California to Mexico.
During the 1970’s he painted and relaxed, mostly in quiet areas around Sonora, Mexico. He died August 16,1977, while vacationing in Newport Beach, Ca at the age of 74.
Mr. Cordrey, was a member of many art societies, most notably the Society of Illustrators,(NYC); was chairman of the Palm Springs Desert Museum (1972), and held many posts in special art associations. His wife, Catherine died in 1992. His daughter, Sandra lives in Palm Springs, CA. Her children and grandchildren have many of his works. His paintings, and illustrations are hard to find, being held mostly in the family collection and in small private collections. The Palm Springs Desert Museum, exhibits his art periodically.