All entries tagged ‘books’
21 May 2015

Milton Glaser’s Boris Vian

Milton Glaser’s watercolors for a French edition of Boris Vian’s I Spit On Your Graves.

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12 Jul 2013

Man in the shadows

Milton Glaser’s cover design for Wilfrid Sheed’s People Will Always Be Kind, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1973)

Wilfrid Sheed, who died in 2011, was a sharp, flinty prose stylist too often overshadowed by his more explicitly experimental or social-commentary-oriented contemporaries. The acerbic flavor of his art may be best enjoyed in Max Jamison (1970). The next novel, People Will Always Be Kind (named after a line in a Siegfried Sassoon poem) was less heralded but continued to refine his style and adapt it to the world around him (somewhat comparably to Saul Bellow’s middle work). In Dwight Garner’s sensitive appreciation, he emphasizes Sheed’s biting essay style:

“Mushy reviews are a breach of faith,” he declared, and the skin on his compositions was salt-crusted. One review began: “Of Ezra Pound, as of Bobby Fischer, all that can decently be said is that his colleagues admire him.” Another began this way: “Scott Fitzgerald is a sound you like to hear at certain times of the day, say at four in the afternoon and again late at night, and at other times it makes you slightly sick.” Another stated: “Books about suicide make lousy gifts.”

He wanted to live in a world in which one could find “Gershwin playing all night in penthouses, while George Kaufman fired one-liners into the guests and Harpo scrambled eggs in their hats.” Milton Glaser’s cover, with its punchy color combined with austere but evocative line, seems neatly suited to such a world.

05 Dec 2012

Once over lightly

Some thoughts on designers and children’s books on the occasion of a scan of original art from Tony Palladino’s unpublished The Crocodile With A Glass Stomach.

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14 Aug 2012

Purple passages

James McMullan’s illustrations for Dutton’s paperback box set of The Alexandria Quartet, an ambitious mid-century novel tetralogy by Lawrence Durrell.

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01 Aug 2012

All together now

Shades of Yellow Submarine in Gian Carlo Menotti’s sci-fi opera for children Help, Help, The Globolinks!

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15 Dec 2011

Seth Siegelaub’s Xerox book

Our latest discovery—strongly recalling the original binder from Mel Bochner’s “Working Drawings…”— is a copy of Seth Siegelaub’s seminal Xerox Book.

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15 Jul 2011

Blue moon promotion

Lou Dorfsman’s epic promotional piece for CBS’s coverage of the Apollo 11 mission.

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16 Mar 2011

The Cook

Milton Glaser created this 1965 book jacket for The Cook, a satirical horror novel about a mysterious chef, Conrad Venn, who seduces and manipulates the wealthy Hill and Vail families with food.

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25 Feb 2011

The surrealistic book covers of Heinz Edelmann

Heinz Edelmann’s book covers for Klett-Cotta.

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03 Feb 2011

Text clean and tight, some tearing

Early in his career, Tony Palladino specialized in book jackets—his style was always restrained, and oscillated between primitive torn-paper graphics and highly simplified visual ideas.

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25 Aug 2010

Color is for anything you want

Tony Palladino Collection, Box 19: Color poem book for Collier Engraving, 1967.

This deceptively casual promotional piece typifies the whimsy and poignancy found in much of Tony Palladino’s work.

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19 Aug 2010

Keep it like a secret

Chermayeff & Geismar Collection: Book Jacket, 1961.

In 1961, Ivan Chermayeff designed and illustrated Sandol Stoddard Warburg’s Keep it like a secret (Chermayeff and Warburg had previously collaborated on The Thinking Book in 1960). The charming title, with its childlike connotations, was later appropriated by the band Built to Spill for their 1999 album. Sadly, we only have the jacket, not the book itself, but I did discover another version of the jacket out there.

30 Jul 2010

Allan Kaprow’s Words

Another lovely artifact appeared in the Archive unexpectedly last week: Allan Kaprow’s Words, from 1962.

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28 Jul 2010

Presenting… The James McMullan Collection

James McMullan Collection: Box 5 Folder 4. Detail from original art for Stone Cold Steve Austin portrait, Rolling Stone, 1998.

We recently finished organizing and describing the James McMullan Collection, which was donated by the acclaimed illustrator and designer last year.

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07 Jun 2010

Borges by McMullan

James McMullan Collection: Original art for Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi.

James McMullan’s watercolor book jackets capture the spirit of Borges.

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21 May 2010

The new graphic art, 1959

Another recent addition from Ivan Chermayeff: the beautiful slipcased hardcover for The new graphic art, a trilingual history of the basis for the Swiss design style, compiled by Karl Gerstner and Markus Kutter in 1959.

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03 Nov 2009

Illustrator Jerome Martin

Steven Heller Collection: All the King’s Men cover by Jerome Martin (Time Reading Program), 1963.

Steven Heller recently gave us 82 books from the Time Reading Program; check out his recent article in Design Observer about their wonderfully eclectic covers.

While going through the books myself, I was particularly taken with the three covers done by an illustrator I’d never heard of, Jerome Martin.

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29 Oct 2009

Heinz Edelmann for Klett-Cotta

Heinz Edelmann worked extensively with the Klett-Cotta press over the course of his career: we’ve collected some of his best jackets.

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18 Sep 2009

Another pitch from Palladino

Tony Palladino Collection: Box 10, Folder 20

About a decade before Tony devised his ‘guerilla marketing’ self-promotion campaign, the designer took a similarly witty but somewhat more traditional approach. Four versions of this card were printed, each in three colors on heavy stock, and sent to publishers without any additional pitch. Set simply with his address and isolating a single area of specialization, they relied on a single strong image to convey their point.

27 Mar 2009

Chasing skirt

Milton Glaser Collection: Box 48, Folder 13

Milton Glaser worked on many book jackets for Philip Roth (both with Penguin and Houghton Mifflin), including the original Zuckerman trilogy; American Pastoral; Goodbye, Columbus; and others. Above is the sketch for his cover to Portnoy’s Complaint (1969). I really like the figuration of hands, and the Goreyesque flowing coat, gently bulbous in high early-Milton style. Though I think it may be a bit literal as jacket covers go, it does directly engage the controlling principle of the book, as listed on the first page (as if an imaginary a psychology encyclopedia entry) —

Portnoy’s Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.

Flying after apparently-unoccupied parachute-like skirts at full sprint is a kind of perversion I guess.