About Cover Art

On „Cover Art & Artists“ (1891-1970), you enter an exciting „everything has to do with everything“ world of art, artists, creativity, careers, magazines, publishers, sales, success, and decline. Watching the covers it’s all about economy, money, war, peace, science, politics, history, sexism, human rights, social change, fear, hope, celebs, crime, dreams, mourning, humor, fake, and everyday life. A breathtaking eighty years retrospect span over World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, World War II, Social Change, Innovation, and Economic Boom.

Mad Men Art features 654 Cover Artists and more than 10,000 covers. See Cover Artist List


1. LIFE Magazine Covers 1891 – 1970

See LIFE Illustrator Covers from 1891–1936

See LIFE Black and White Photo Covers from 1936–1970

See LIFE Color Photo Covers from 1937–1970

Life was an American Magazine from 1883 until 2000, headquartered in New York City, published weekly until 1972. The history of Life Magazine is split in two periods and there was no editorial continuity between the two publications.

Copyright: All LIFE Magazine Covers © Time Inc., New York. Website: www.life.com

1.1 Life Illustrator Covers 1891-1936

Originally, Life was a humor and satire magazine founded January 4, 1883, as a partnership between John Ames Mitchell and Andrew Miller. It was developed as being in a similar vein to the British magazine „Punch“. This form of the magazine lasted until November 1936. Life had 250,000 readers in 1920, but as the Jazz Age rolled into the Great Depression, the magazine lost money and subscribers.

Life was published heavy on illustrations, jokes and social commentary. It featured some of the greatest writers, editors, illustrators and cartoonists of its time, including Charles Dana Gibson and Norman Rockwell. Gibson became the editor and owner of the magazine after John Ames Mitchell died in 1918. Gibson was joined in Life early days by such well-known illustrators as Palmer Cox (creator of the Brownie), A. B. Frost, Oliver Herford and E. W. Kemble.

Life became a place that discovered new illustrators. In 1908 Robert Ripley published his first cartoon in Life, 20 years before his Believe It or Not! fame. Norman Rockwell’s first cover for Life magazine, “Tain’t You” was published May 10, 1917. Rea Irvin, the first art director of The New Yorker and creator of the character „Eustace Tilley“, got his start drawing covers for Life.

Other popular cover illustrators were Coles Phillips, Henry Hutt, James Montgomery Flagg, John Held Jr. Paul Stahr, Power OMalley, Russell Patterson and Victor C. Anderson.

Image Source: www.magazineart.org

1.2 Life Photo Journalism Covers 1936-1970

Henry Luce, the owner of Time, bought Life in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name, and launched a major weekly news magazine with a strong emphasis on photojournalism. Luce purchased the rights to the name from the publishers of the first Life but sold its subscription list, contents, and features to the satirical magazine “Judge”.

Life was the first all-photographic American news magazine, and it dominated the market for several decades. Possibly the best known photo published in the magazine was Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a nurse in a sailor’s arms, taken on August 14, 1945, as they celebrated Victory over Japan Day in New York City. Life’s profile was such that the memoirs of President Harry S. Truman, Sir Winston Churchill, and General Douglas MacArthur were all serialized in its pages.

Image Source: https://www.google.ch/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=life+magazine

2. The Saturday Evening Post Covers 1892-1969

See The Saturday Evening Post Illustrator Covers of the 1892-1930 Era

See The Saturday Evening Post Illustrator Covers of the 1931-1969 Era

The Saturday Evening Post is an American magazine, first published in 1821. The Magazine was published 1897-1969 by the Curtis Publishing Company, headquartered in Philadelphia. Today the Post is published six times a year by the Saturday Evening Post Society, a nonprofit organization in Indianapolis. From the 1920s to the 1960s The Saturday Evening Post was the most widely circulated and influential weekly magazines for the American middle class, with fiction, non-fiction, cartoons and features that reached millions of homes every week.

In 1916, Saturday Evening Post editor George Horace Lorimer discovered Norman Rockwell, then an unknown 22-year-old New York artist. Rockwell’s illustrations of the American family and rural life of a bygone era became icons. During his 50-year career with the Post, Rockwell painted more than 300 covers.

The Post also employed Nebraska artist John Philip Falter, who became known „as a painter of Americana with an accent of the Middle West,“ who „brought out some of the homeliness and humor of Middle Western town life and home life.“ He produced 120 covers for the Post between 1943 and 1968. Other popular cover illustrators were George Hughes, Constantin Alajalov, John Clymer, W. H. D. Koerner, J. C. Leyendecker, Mead Schaeffer, Charles A. MacLellan, John E. Sheridan, Douglass Crockwell and Amos Sewell.

Copyright: All The Saturday Evening Post Covers © Saturday Evening Post Society, Indianapolis. Image Source and Website: www.saturdayeveningpost.com

3. Vogue Covers 1902-1958

See Vogue Illustrator Covers from 1902-1958

Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine published by Condé Nast headquartered in New York City. Vogue was founded by Arthur Baldwin Turnure as a weekly fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway magazine. The first issue was published on December 17, 1892. Since 1973 the magazine appears monthly.

Turnure’s intention was to create a publication that celebrated the „ceremonial side of life“; one that „attracts the sage as well as debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle.“ From its inception, the magazine targeted the new New York upper class and recount their habits, their leisure activities, their social gatherings, the places they frequented, and the clothing they wore … and everyone who wanted to look like them and enter their exclusive circle. The first issue of French Vogue was released in 1920.

Vogue was also famous for its outstanding illustrated covers. In July 1932, American Vogue placed its first color photograph on the cover of the magazine. The photograph was taken by photographer Edward Steichen and portrays a woman swimmer holding a beach ball in the air. Laird Borrelli, Archive Editor at Condé Nast notes that Vogue led the decline of fashion illustration in the late 1930s, when they began to replace their celebrated illustrated covers with photographic images.

Popular cover illustrators were Carl Erickson (Eric), Eduardo Garcia Benito, George Wolfe Plank, Georges Lepape, Helen Dryden and Salvador Dali.

Copyright: All Vogue Magazine Covers © Condé Nast, New York. Website: www.vogue.com

4. La Vie Parisienne 1910 – 1939

See more than 700 La Vie Parisienne Covers from 1910-1939

La Vie Parisienne (The Parisian Life) was a French weekly magazine founded in Paris in 1863 and was published without interruption until 1970. It was popular at the start of the 20th century. In 1905 the new editor Charles Saglio changed its format to suit the modern reader. It soon evolved into a mildly risqué erotic publication. During World War I, General Pershing personally warned American servicemen against purchasing the magazine, which boosted its popularity in the United States.

La Vie Parisienne was hugely successful because it combined a new mix of subjects (short stories, veiled gossip and fashion banter, also comments about subjects from love and the arts to the stock exchange) with beautiful cartoons and full-page color illustrations by leading artists of the age. Alongside this the magazine also reflected the changing interests and values of the start of the 20th century population such as fashion and frivolity.

The artwork of La Vie Parisienne reflected the stylization of Art Nouveau and Art Deco illustration, mirroring the aesthetic of the age as well as the values, and this coupled with the intellectualism, wit and satire of its written contributions was a combination that proved irresistible to the French public.

Georges Leonnec created his first illustration for La Vie Parisienne in 1907. With more than 500 covers, he was the most famous La Vie Parisienne cover artist ever. Leonnec studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (ÉnsAD-Paris). The ÉnsAD-Paris played a major role in the development of the Art Deco design movement in the 1920s and in the creation of new design concepts. Georges Leonnec also is the No 1 cover artist on Mad Man Art. Our Ad Art Collection presents 449 “La Vie Parisienne” and “Le Sourire” magazine covers.

Other popular cover illustrators were Armand Vallee, Cheri Herouard, Fabien Fabiano, George Barbier, George Pavis, Henry Fournier, Jacques Leclerc, Leo Fontan, Maurice Milliere, Pierre Brissaud, Rene Prejelan, Rene Vincent, Umberto Brunelleschi and ValdEs (Louis Denis-Valverane & Georges D’Espagnat).

Copyright: All La Vie Parisienne Covers © La Vie Parisienne, Paris.

5. The New Yorker Covers 1925 – 1970

See The New Yorker Illustrator Covers of the 1925-1945 Era

See The New Yorker Illustrator Covers of the 1946-1970 Era

The New Yorker is an American magazine, headquartered in New York City, published by Condé Nast.

The New Yorker was founded by Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant, a New York Times reporter, and debuted as a weekly on February 21, 1925. Ross wanted to create a sophisticated humor magazine that would be different from perceivably „corny“ humor publications such as Judge, where he had worked, or the old Life.

The New Yorker is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism on politics and social issues, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.

The New Yorker’s signature display typeface, used for its nameplate and headlines and the masthead above The Talk of the Town section, is Irvin, named after its creator, the designer-illustrator Rea Irvin.

Popular cover illustrators were Abe Birnbaum, Anatol Kovarsky, Arthur Getz, Charles Addams, Charles D. Saxon, Charles E. Martin, Constantin Alajalov, Edna Eicke, Garrett Price, Helen E. Hokinson, Ilonka Karasz, Julian De Miskey, Leonard Dove, Perry Barlow, Peter Arno, Rea Irvin, Saul Steinberg, Theodore G. Haupt, William Cotton and William Steig.

The cultural capital of the New Yorker cover has waxed and waned over the years, but there’s no denying that many iconic images of New York (and for New Yorkers) have originated there – as well as quite a bit of beauty, as well as some ugliness. Predictably, some of the most iconic New Yorker covers are the ones that address tragedy, or illustrated some kind of upheaval – political, environmental, social—that affected New Yorkers and other Earthlings on a large scale. Others are simply unforgettable as images … – Emily Temple, senior editor at Lit Hub

Copyright: All The New Yorker Magazine Covers © Condé Nast, New York. Website and Image Source: www.NewYorker.com

6. TIME Magazine / TIME-Line 1923-1970

Time is an American weekly news magazine headquartered in New York City.

Time magazine was created in 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, making it the first weekly news magazine in the United States. Time has the world’s largest circulation for a weekly news magazine. Time’s most famous feature throughout its history has been the annual „Person of the Year“ cover story, in which Time recognizes the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest impact on news headlines over the past 12 months.

Our TIME-line contains a selection of 700 vintage Time magazine covers, dating from the first edition in 1923 through to 1970. Almost 3,000 issues of the magazine were published during this period. You can fast-forward through history by tracing this chronological timeline of cover personalities – a unique kind of “Who’s Who.” In selecting the covers for our collection, we have tried to emphasize the global scope of this US-oriented magazine.

Copyright: All Time Magazine Covers © Time Inc., New York. Image Source and Website: www.time.com

7. Fortune Magazine Covers 1930-1959

See Fortune Illustrator Covers from 1930 to 1959

Fortune is an American multinational business magazine headquartered in New York City. It is published by Fortune Media Group Holdings and famous for its regularly publishes Fortune 500, a ranking of companies by revenue, published annually since 1955.

Fortune was founded by The Atlantic Monthly Company co-founder Henry Luce in 1929 as „the Ideal Super-Class Magazine“ to vividly portray, interpret and record the Industrial Civilization. In spite of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, marking the onset of the Great Depression, Fortune made its official debut as a weekly magazine in February 1930. At a time when business publications basically were numbers and statistics printed in black and white, Fortune appeared in an oversized format and in color.

Besides the rankings, and the in-depth feature articles, Fortune is famous for its Art Covers. Fortune magazine covers were created by graphic artists such as Bauhaus teacher Herbert Bayer, Art Deco illustrator Antonio Petruccelli, industrial realist Charles Sheeler, muralist Miguel Covarrubias, surrealist Thomas Benrimo and constructivist Constantin Alajalov.

Copyright: All Fortune Magazine Covers © Fortune Media Group, New York. Website: www.fortune.com

8. Special Exhibition: 71 Women Cover Artists; 836 Covers

See 836 Illustrator Covers created by 71 Women Artists for Life Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, Fortune Magazine and Le Sourire

Let’s face it: The venerable old Saturday Evening Post was never in the forefront of the fight for female equality. Yet, as far back as 1904, some of our finest cover artists were women. – Diana Denny, The Saturday Evening Post Archives

The collection of Mad Men Art spans a period of 80 years, from 1891 to 1970. This was the golden age of illustration art and also the most important period of the women’s rights movement. An era with unacceptable frame conditions and discriminatory working atmosphere for most women in every occupational field. The news business, the creative and design departments, and even the world of art were no exception. In spite of all obstacles there where some brave Women Cover Artists in this era. That’s why Mad Men Art dedicates a Special Exhibition to this outstanding 71 Women:

Alice de Warenne (5), Alice Harvey (2), Anita Parkhurst (5), Anna Nordstrom Feind (1), Anne Estelle Rice (3), Barbara Shermund (11), Beatrice Szanton (11), Beatrice Tobias (2), Bertha Lum (1), Blanche Greer (1), Carol Aus (7), Christina Malman (24), Christine Wright (1), Claire Avery (1), Dagmar (1), Doris Lee (1), Dorothy McKay (5), Edna Crompton (2), Edna Eicke (51), Edna Longest (1), Edwina (5), Ellen Pyle (40), Esther Peck (1), Ethel Franklin Betts (4), Ethel Wright (1), Fanny Young Cory (1), Frances Arnold (1), Frances Tipton Hunter (19), Grace Evans (1), Grace Gebbie Wiederseim (3), Harriet Meserole (16), Helen Dryden (92), Helen E Hokinson (68), Helen Federico (1), Helen Thurlow (1), Henrietta Adams (2), Henrietta McCaig Starret (1), Ilonka Karasz (163), Irma Campbell (2), Katharine R Wireman (4), Laura Jean Allen (11), Leslie Saalburg (2), Leslie Thrasher (22), Loren MacIver (1), Madelaine Giraud (1), Madeline S Pereny (3), Margaret B Bull (2), Margaret Schloeman (2), Mariam Troop (2), Marie Laurencin (2), Mary Ellen Sigsbee (1), Mary Petty (38), Miriam Tana Hoban (1), Mrs Newell Tilton (8), Nell Hott (3), Neysa McMein (62), Olive Rush (1), Pearl L Hill (8), Priscille Peck (1), Rose Silver (7), Ruth Cairns (1), Ruth Eastman Rodgers (5), Sarah Stilwell-Weber (61), Su Zeigler (1), Sue Williams (9), Susanne Suba (5), Suzanne Meunier (7), Violet Moore Higgins (1), Virginia Cuthbert (2), Virginia Snedeker (3), Whitney Darrow (2).

9. Norman Rockwell; 418 Covers

See 418 Norman Rockwell Covers from 1913-1963

Norman Percevel Rockwell (1894–1978) was an American author, painter and illustrator. Among the best-known of Rockwell’s works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, the Four Freedoms series, and the covers for the Boy Scouts of America publication Boys‘ Life. Norman Rockwell Museum: www.nrm.org

At age of 18 Rockwell was hired as a staff artist for Boys‘ Life magazine. For one completed cover and a set of story illustrations he received 50 dollars each month; his first paying job as an artist.

Norman Rockwell was a prolific artist, producing more than 4,000 original works in his lifetime. He was also commissioned to illustrate books, Coca-Cola ads, booklets, catalogs, posters, sheet music, stamps, and murals.

His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the more than 300 covers of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post between 1920 and 1963. „Mother’s Day Off“ was his first Post cover. He spent the next 10 years painting for Look magazine, where his work depicted his interests in civil rights, poverty, and space exploration.

Rockwell’s success on the cover of the Post led to covers for other magazines, most notably the Literary Digest, the Country Gentleman, Leslie’s Weekly, Judge, Peoples Popular Monthly and Life magazine.

Many of Rockwell’s works appear overly sweet in the opinion of modern critics, especially the Saturday Evening Post covers, which tend toward idealistic or sentimentalized portrayals of American life. This has led to the often-deprecatory adjective, „Rockwellesque“. In his later years, however, Rockwell began receiving more attention as a painter when he chose more serious subjects such as the series on racism for Look magazine. One example of this more serious work is The Problem We All Live With (1963), which dealt with the issue of school racial integration. The painting depicts a young black girl, Ruby Bridges, flanked by white federal marshals, walking to school past a wall defaced by racist graffiti. This painting was displayed in the White House when Bridges met with President Obama in 2011.

10. Coles Phillips; 205 Covers and Ads

See 205 Coles Phillips Covers and Ads from 1908-1927

Clarence Coles Phillips (1880-1927) was an American artist and illustrator. He is known for his stylish images of women and a signature use of negative space in the paintings he created for advertisements and the covers of popular magazines.

The work of Phillips quickly became popular with the Life readers. In May 1908, he created a cover for the magazine that featured his first „fadeaway girl“ design with a figure whose clothing matched, and disappeared into, the background. Phillips developed this idea in many subsequent covers. Phillips‘ use of negative space allowed the viewer to „fill-in“ the image; it also reduced printing costs for the magazine, as the novelty of the technique and the striking design qualities masked the fact that Life was getting by with single color or two-color covers in a day when full-color covers were de rigueur for the better magazines. Phillips worked in watercolor and always painted from life.

Phillips produced cover art for other national magazines besides Life, including Good Housekeeping, which for two years, from July 1912, made him their sole cover artist. Phillips also created many advertising images for makers of women’s clothing, and for such clients as the Overland automobile company and Oneida Community flatware. His series depicting women wearing Holeproof Hosiery products was considered daring for its time.

11. Edward Hopper; 206 Paintings, Aquarelles and Illustrations

See 206 Edward Hopper Paintings, Aquarelles and Illustrations from 1900-1966

Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was an American realist painter. While he is widely known for his oil paintings and aquarelles, he was equally proficient as an illustrator. His first paid works were illustrations. Because we believe that as a painter he always remained an illustrator at heart, we dedicate Edward Hopper this special exhibition.

In 1905, Hopper landed a part-time job with an advertising agency, where he created cover designs for trade magazines like the “Morse Dry Dock Dial” and the “Hotel Management”. Hopper came to detest illustration. He was bound to it by economic necessity until the mid-1920s.

Hopper derived his subject matter from two primary sources: one, the common features of American life (gas stations, motels, restaurants, theaters, railroads, and street scenes) and its inhabitants; and two, seascapes and rural landscapes. Regarding his style, Hopper defined himself as „an amalgam of many races“ and not a member of any school, particularly the „Ashcan School“. Once Hopper achieved his mature style, his art remained consistent and self-contained, in spite of the numerous art trends that came and went during his long career.

His painting “Nighthawks”, is described as Hopper’s best-known work and one of the most recognizable paintings in American art.

Edward Hopper main image sources:


Website main text source: www.wikipedia.org