1912 (New Jersey)
New York/New Jersey
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|One of the successful illustrators in the mid-to-late-20th century, an
era of declining appreciation for traditional illustration, James Avati
survived professionally by turning from magazine art to covers for
sensational novels. Many of these books, descendants of the
popular pulp magazines during the war, had scenes of hair-raising
violence and sexuality that challenged middle class conservatism.
Of Avati, it was written that his "approach was honest and unblinkingly
realistic, in keeping with the gritty fiction that was becoming popular
in books and movies, but he painted with an artistry that won
readership for the books, and a score of imitators who tried to emulate
the 'Avati' look." (Reed 306)
During this time Avati also did traditional magazine illustrations, and his clients included Colliers, American Magazine, McCall's and Atlantic Monthly.
He was a member and exhibitor of the Society of Illustrators.
From New Jersey, he was a graduate of Princeton University, where he
earned a degree in architecture. However, he was self-taught as an
artist. He moved to New York City in the 1930s and had jobs as a
decorative painter for a department store and as a commercial artist
for ad agencies. He served in the army during World War II and
then took a book-cover assignment in 1948 with the New American
Library’s The Last of the Conquerers
by William Gardner Smith. He also did covers for novels by
Erskine Caldwell, William Styron, Pearl Buck and Irwin Shaw.
In the 1970s, when he was in his sixties, he began teaching illustration at Princeton University, his alma mater.
Walt Reed, "The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000". p. 306
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art", p. 155
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