Wednesday, September 12, 2007

(link:) A quick Boris Artzybasheff web round-up

I may have seen some of his Time covers or magazine ads in the past, but I think the first time I really drew a bead on the artist Boris Artzybasheff was about ten years ago, when I saw the small retrospective of his work that ran in issue #9 of Monte Beauchamp's 'Blab!' anthology.

(That piece has since been reprinted in 'New & used Blab!', a 'best-of' compendium published in 2003 by Chronicle Books.)

Russian-born Boris Artzybasheff (1899 - 1965) emigrated to the US in 1922. Through the course of his career he displayed his amazing versatility through many differrent artistic styles.
He was frighteningly adept at portraying the surreal, but the draftsman-like clarity of his realist images was unique.
- - And then when he'd combine the two... Wow.
Nobody else like him.

He was primarily a book illustrator early on in his career, but in 1940 turned almost exclusively to commercial art.
His print ads were eye-popping, and his affiliation as a Time Magazine cover artist spanned over 20 years..

These top three illustrations are from the Charles G. Finney's book, 'The Circus of Dr. Lao', ➔
first published in 1935.
Below is one from a 1951 issue of Time.⬇
(click on images to ENLARGE)

If you're not familiar with Artzybasheff, I heartily encourage you to seek out his works.
I've provided links to just a few places around the web that can help to whet your appetite.

What you see here is just the tip of the iceberg, so have at it!!

- There's a nice illustrated bio page at the Bud Plant site.

- A great gallery at American Art Archives, with an emphasis on his artwork for advertising.

- A 'search results' gallery at of 215 Time Magazine covers produced between 1941 and 1965.** (Rats. See below.)
It'd be nice if the images were a little larger and better resolution, but oh well...

- A small gallery at
The Abyss of Wonder.

- A small collection of World War Two images at one of the 'digital collections' pages for the University of North Texas Libraries.

- Artzybasheff's 1954 book 'As I See' is a luscious gathering of his artwork.
It's sadly (criminally!) been long out of print, but last year
Ken Steacy Publishing released a 'recreated' version of the book in softcover.

ADDENDUM, 9/12/08: The Ken Steacy reprint is no longer available, but the good news is that 'As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff' will soon be back in print again as a new hardcover edition from
Titan Books!

- In typical fashion, there are a few beautiful troves of high-res scans from the original book available online at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive.
The link here leads to a group from the 'Neurotica' section of the book, but there are links to further sections to be found by scrolling to the bottom of that page.

Below: 'Art Profane' from
'As I See'. ⬇

It's a great boon to be able to track down any examples of Artzybasheff's artwork, and it's great to know that 'As I See' is back in print, but - - surprise, surprise, I'm wishing there was more, like a big, thick, fully-loaded extensive career overview coffee-table book. I'm just slightly surprised there's not already such a thing out there. Maybe someday soon...

** Okay, so this Time 'cover gallery' link doesn't seem to work from day to day as well as one would hope. Try this...

Enter 'Artzybasheff' in any search window on the Time site.
Your results should include a small 'Covers' sidebar on the right.
At the bottom of that sidebar, it should read 'More Covers (215)'.
Click on that. Presto. (fingers crossed for you)

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