Biography: A native of South Dakota, Harvey Dunn had his early education at the South Dakota Agricultural College and then studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1902-1904) and with Howard Pyle (1904-1910) in Wilmington, DE. From 1906, by which time he was illustrating for several major publishers, to 1914 he had his own studio in Wilmington. He married Tulla Krebs in 1908.
In 1914, Dunn moved to Leonia, NJ and a year later started the Leonia School of Illustration, modeling it on Pyle's school. Differences with his co-founder Charles Shepard Chapman led Dunn to close the school and teach from his own studio and in various institutional programs.
In 1918, Dunn was one of 8 artists selected to accompany the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. Upon his return, he moved his family to Tenafly, NJ, as he continued his illustration career. By the mid-1920s, he was also painting scenes related to his South Dakota childhood; he made many annual trips to the area for both illustration assignments and as easel paintings. He taught classes at the Grand Central School of Art and the arts Students League. During his career, his students included Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer, and John Clymer. After 1939, Dunn dedicated more time to easel painting.
The South Dakota Museum of Art at South Dakota State University was built to house the Harvey Dunn Collection, which was given to the institution by the artist in 1950 and transferred to the museum in 1970. The collection includes approximately 140 works.