Frank Schoonover: The Authentic Artist is a one-hour documentary film that explores innovative Delaware illustrator Frank Schoonover’s visionary social commentary on two powerfully contrasting social frontiers in northeastern Pennsylvania—the region’s gloomy industrial landscape in the 1900’s and the pristine vistas of the Delaware River in the 1930’s. Schoonover’s moody monochromatic sketches of boys working in coal mines and girls laboring in textile mills, and his vibrant oil paintings of panoramic river settings in the Pocono Mountains, are prescient art that portrays issues of human rights and environmentalism and captures the heart of a people and a place, and the soul of an artist.
That soul found its solace in the subject of the frontier. To this day, Frank Schoonover’s iconic renderings of adventurous life in fantasy as well as in the Canadian North and the American West help define American popular culture. More than five million readers every month saw his illustrations of the fiction of Jack London and Zane Grey, among the many writers with whom he collaborated. He was the first to visualize the legendary western character Hopalong Cassidy (left).