Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Judge These Books By Their Covers.

I've spent the whole semester teaching Design Studio I with a theme of book publishing at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, so this post is quite fitting. It's also fitting because I have a guilty pleasure movie that actually spotlights a cover featured here. Here goes…

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ROCKWELL KENT: I wonder how many books have inspired as many great art works over the years as Herman Melville's Moby Dick. None better than the 1930, three-part, limited-edition works by artist Rockwell Kent. Once an obscure title released in 1851, the book received a major boom in the early 1920's when critics and authors alike heightened the book's importance as an American literature classic. The Kent-illustrated editions sold-out immediately and helped in launching the legend once again.

(click image to enlarge [slightly])

Fritz's wood-cut cover for Jane Eyre rose to my attention via the smartly-written, not-quite-arthouse 2008 film, Definitely, Maybe. A character was given this edition of the book by her father and I instantly loved the cover. After doing a little research, I found that the art was created by Mr. Eichenberg, a German-American illustrator who fled Hitler's Germany in 1933. He also illustrated Wuthering Heights and a phenomenal collector set can be viewed, or purchased here.