It’s hard to fathom that almost two decades into the 21st century that there could still be a chasm between the worlds of “fine art” and graphic design. Especially considering that in the early part of the twentieth century these lines were blurred, as evidenced previously with the design work of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Below, take a look at some enthralling magazine covers by the likes of Dali, Matisse, Picasso, Braque and other famous fine artists.
Verve: The Ultimate Review of Art and Literature
Indeed there were two main publications that engaged the great painters of the last century to contribute cover designs alongside interior artwork. The first of these magazines was Verve: The Ultimate Review of Art and Literature. Published in Paris by Teriafe, its inaugural issue on December 1937 featured a cover by Matisse.
According to art critic John Russell writing in the New York Times in 1988, “That first cover sang out from the other side of the street in a way that made us run across the road to look at it more closely.”
The publication continued until 1960, with 38 editions and featured the work and writing of the likes of Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Joan Miro, Man Ray, Jean-Paul Sartre, et al. A hard covered journal sporting a dust jacket, included were tipped-in lithographs by the renowned artists.
Covers also featured the likes of Bonnard, Francisco Bores, Georges Braque, Chagall, and several by Picasso.
Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts
Predating Verve was Broom, which premiered on November 1921 and lasted until January 1924, founded by Harold Loeb and Alfred Kreymborg and published in Europe. Loeb, related to the Guggenheims on his mother’s side, wished to bring the European avant-garde to the U.S. The magazine sold for fifty cents a copy and five dollars for a year subscription. Among the artists included were Juan Gris, George Grosz, Matisse, Laslo Moholy-Nogy, Picasso, Man Ray and Joseph Stella, and writers Hart Crane, E.E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and Jean Toomer. The magazine’s cover designers included Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, El Lissitzky, Man Ray as well as lesser known artists Enrico Prampolini, Ladislas Medgyes among others.
Unlike the more luxurious Verve, Broom featured two-color paper covers and black and white interiors with tipped-in quality black and white prints of artwork and photography and occasional woodcuts. You can view all 21 issues here.
In addition to these art and culture magazines others utilized the talents of famous artists as well. Salvadore Dali, Man Ray and Juan Miro contributed several magazine covers for the fashion titleVogue in the 1940s. Even Matisse made an appearance as a backdrop and while not his design Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass sculpture appeared as a prop with his blessing.