Patrick Nagel

Patrick Nagel (1945 – 1984) was an American artist. He created popular illustrations on board, paper, and canvas, most of which emphasize the female form in a distinctive style descended from Art Deco. He is best known for his illustrations for Playboy magazine and the pop group Duran Duran, for whom he designed the cover of the best selling album Rio.

“Like some of the old print masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was influenced by the Japanese woodblock print, with figures silhouetted against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat, two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more across with fewer elements. His simple and precise imagery is also reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s – its sharp linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form yield images that are formal yet decorative.” Elena G. Millie, curator of the poster collection at the Library of Congress.

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