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Music for the eyes - The man who launched the Golden Age of album cover design

Music for the eyes

The man who launched the Golden Age of album cover design


Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, Art Ed.

Edition of 100 + 25 APs
US$ 1,800
Multilingual Edition:
English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
No. 1-100: Limited to 100 numbered copies, each signed by the artist, this Art Edition comes with an original signed serigraph print.

The Firebird Suite, serigraph print, 33 x 33 cm (13 x 13 in.), limited to 100 copies signed by Alex Steinweiss. Originally conceived as cover art for the 1957 Decca Records release of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, The Firebird Suite, this LP cover has been reprinted as a seven-color serigraph.

“I love music so much and I had such ambition that I was willing to go way beyond what the hell they paid me for. I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music.” —Alex Steinweiss

Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover as we know it, and created a new graphic art form. In 1940, as Columbia Records’ young new art director, he pitched an idea: Why not replace the standard plain brown wrapper with an eye-catching illustration? The company took a chance, and within months record sales increased by over 800 per cent. His covers for Columbia—combining bold typography with modern, elegant illustrations—took the industry by storm and revolutionized the way records were sold.

Over three decades, Steinweiss made thousands of original artworks for classical, jazz, and popular record covers for Columbia, Decca, London, and Everest; as well as logos, labels, adverting material, even his own typeface, the Steinweiss Scrawl. He launched the golden age of album cover design and influenced generations of designers to follow. Less well known—but included here—are his posters for the U.S. Navy; packaging and label design for liquor companies; film title sequences; as well as his fine art. Includes essays by three-time Grammy Award-winning art director/designer Kevin Reagan and graphic design historian Steven Heller; Steinweiss’ personal recollections from an epic career; and extensive ephemera from the Steinweiss archive, most of it never before published.

Also available in a Collector’s Edition (No. 101-1,600).
  • "A wonderful book, and sure to make a great Holiday present for the music or album cover

    —, Los Angeles