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 Richard Amsel  (1947 - 1985)

About: Richard Amsel


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: illustrator-cinema, celebrity portrait

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BIOGRAPHY for Richard Amsel

New York

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illustrator-cinema, celebrity portrait

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Richard Amsel began his career by winning the "Hello Dolly" movie campaign from 20th Century Fox while still an art student at the Philadelphia College of Art. His illustrations and celebrity portraits have been seen by literally millions of people around the world in ads, on movie posters, TV Guide, record and magazine covers.

Amsel's Cinema Art for such popular movies as The Sting, Murder on the Orient Express, A Star is Born, The Last Picture Show, Judge Roy Bean, Chinatown, Death on the Nile, The Dark Crystal, and Raiders of the Lost Ark (and its re-release) require no introduction. In just thirteen years, he was awarded over 40 TV Guide covers, including the cover portraits of Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh commemorating the historic first time showing of Gone with the Wind on television in 1976.

Other TV Guide covers include from 1974's definitive Lucille Ball through Katherine Hepburn, Shogun, Elvis Presley, The Royal Wedding/Charles and Diana, to 1985's Nancy Reagan, Cagney and Lacey and Miami Vice. His portrait of Lily Tomlin in white top hat and tux, assigned as a cover for Time Magazine, is now part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The New York and Los Angeles Society of Illustrators honored Amsel with numerous awards, as have many other art and major advertising societies on three continents. He also received a Grammy Award, a Golden Key Award from The Hollywood Reporter and citations from the Philadelphia Art Director's Club. His work has been reproduced in most books and publications on Movie Poster Art, TV Guide Art and Illustrations, such as Fame 1 and Fame 2. In 1987, a posthumous retrospective of Amsel's works was held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles.

Though he often worked in glazes of acrylic, pastel and colored pencils or oil paints on board or canvas, he approached each assignment as a challenge to execute the design in the technique and medium most appropriate to iti.e., McCabe and Mrs. Miller was painted as a sign on wood for Old West flavor. His powerful logo-art images such as Bette Midler at The Palace and The Divine Miss M have become icons of American pop culture.

Strong early influences show through his entire body of work from Mucha and Art Nouveau (The Seven Per-Cent Solution), J. C. Leyendecker (The Sting), Walt Disney backgrounds and animated cels evident in the dungeon like wall in Papillon to Sci Fi and fanciful (Flash Gordon and The Dark Crystal).

Renee Kezar Fine Art

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