James Michel Newell
was born on February 21, 1900 in Carnegie, Pennsylvania and was enlisted in the Marines during World War I. Moving to New York at age 23, he studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students' League. Newell studied painting at Academie Julian, fresco at Beaux Arts, and later, Renaissance frescoes in Europe. Newell returned to the United States in 1913, and was soon commissioned by the Potomac Electric Power Company to paint large-scale murals in the lobbies of Washington, D.C. offices. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served for two years. After the war, Newell became an illustrator at Sperny Gyroscope in Brooklyn, NY and also created illustrations for the Mobil Company.