Poster, Elvis, 1979
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.
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, 1979; 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