(1945 - 1984)
Patrick Nagel was active/lived in California, Ohio / Germany. Patrick Nagel is known for art deco seductive female figure, advertising art, illustration, posters.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following is from Robert Crook:
Biography from SIGFine Art-Dorog Gallery
Patrick Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1945, but was brought up in the Los Angeles area where he spent most of his life. He attended and taught at Pasadena's Art Center School of Design, then Chouinard Art Institute, and in 1969 received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University at Fullerton.
Nagel initially put his talents to work as a freelance artist, accepting commissions from major corporations and magazines, including IBM, ITT, United Artists, MGM, Universal Studios, Playboy, Architectural Digest, Rolling Stone, Oui, and Harpers.
He was most known for his "femme fatale": While elegant and alluring, Nagel's women were also stand-offish and independent. Beginning in 1976, Nagel began contributing regularly to Playboy, which extended the exposure and popularity of "the Nagel Woman."
In 1978, he created his first poster image for Mirage Editions. Together with Mirage, his work became the modern day counterpart to the "posterists" who had proceeded him such as Lautrec, Mucha, Cassandre, and Holwein.
His work reflected and synthesized a variety of artistic traditions. His work bore characteristics of old Japanese woodblock print and modern-day manga, as well as European aesthetics developed by the Post- Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites. He created a popular "art deco" style that affected fashion and decorative arts in the 1980s.
Nagel's posters have been collected by such prestigious institutions as the Library of Congress, the Oakland Museum, and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at U.C.L.A. Permanent collections of his work are housed at the Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs and the Smithsonian Institution. He died of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 38.
Currently, there is no Patrick Nagel catalog raisonne. The most comprehensive book on his work is The Art of Patrick Nagel (Van Der Merk 1985).
Nagel's working method was to start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying
and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting
image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were
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According to Elena G. Millie, curator of the poster
collection at the Library of Congress: "Like some of the old print
masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was
influenced by the Japanese woodblock print, with figures silhouetted
against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and
with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare
originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat,
two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more
across with fewer elements. His simple and precise imagery is also
reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s- its sharp
linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form yield
images that are formal yet decorative."
Nagel's figures generally
have black hair, bright white skin, full-lipped mouths, and the
distinctive Nagel eyes, which are often squared off in the later works.
Because of the intense stylization and reduction of facial features
into clean lines, generally the figures resemble each other, though
Nagel worked with many models, including Playboy Playmates Cathy St.
George, Tracy Vaccaro and Shannon Tweed.
Nagel also painted several
celebrity portraits including those of Joan Collins (whose portrait was
subsequently released as a limited edition print) and Joanna Cassidy.
Nagel also painted men, though only one was ever released as a fine art
print while Nagel was alive.
He had and continues to have a devoted
following of collectors. Nagel's artwork strongly
influenced the illustration and clip art of the late 1980s and
illustrations of women strongly resembling those seen in Nagel's art
were widely used in hair and nail salons and other beauty-oriented
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