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Poster, Elvis

This is a Poster. It was designed by Milton Glaser and made for (as the client) McGraw-Hill. It is dated 1979 and we acquired it in 1979. Its medium is offset lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Fifteen years after Milton Glaser’s now iconic Bob Dylan album cover was first distributed in 1966, the American graphic designer’s portrait featuring the King of Rock became the dust jacket for the singer’s biography “Elvis” written by Albert Goldman (McGraw Hill Book Company, 1981). It belongs to one in a family of popular posters Glaser created in tribute to rock, country, pop, and classical artists such as Aretha Franklin, Jerry Garcia, Beethoven, Stevie Wonder, and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. But this illustration of Elvis Presley as a young man stands out stylistically. Sketched using colored pencil and crayon, Elvis departs from the psychedelic representations, bold lines, and vivid colors that define the influential movement revolutionized by Push Pin Studios, a New York-based design firm Glaser co-founded in 1954. Here, Glaser instead takes inspiration from early Roman paintings and sculpture — perhaps spurred by Glaser’s time studying under painter Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890-1964) on a Fulbright Scholarship in the early 1950s — to produce a softer, toned-down image of the youthful Elvis that signals innocence before his ultimate decline.

This object was donated by Milton Glaser. It is credited Gift of Milton Glaser.

Its dimensions are

92.2 x 61.1 cm (36 5/16 x 24 1/16 in.)

It is signed

Signed in black, inside a horizontal bubble, lower right: MILTON GLASER

It is inscribed

Inscribed in black, lower margin: [company logo] PUBLISHED BY MCGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY

Cite this object as

Poster, Elvis; Designed by Milton Glaser (American, 1929–2020); offset lithograph on paper; 92.2 x 61.1 cm (36 5/16 x 24 1/16 in.); Gift of Milton Glaser; 1979-42-2

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Elvis |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>