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The Theater Posters of James Mcmullan Hardcover – October 1, 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Theater posters, as producer Bernard Gerstein writes in the introduction to this sumptuous book, are a strange combination of fine art, illustration, and advertising. But all three elements are rarely combined as successfully as in James McMullan's posters, which for over twenty years have been catching the eyes of New Yorkers on billboards, subway platforms, and along the sides of buses.

McMullan has had a long-standing, fruitful relationship with Lincoln Center. While the 35 posters he developed for the Center have given it a recognizable graphic identity, they've given McMullan the opportunity to experiment and hone his craft in a medium more often the purview of advertising executives and marketing strategists. The result is a body of work that celebrates the expressive power of the human form, including the celebrated image of the yakking newspaperman from his poster for The Front Page and the saucy over-the-shoulder peek from the alluring ingenue of Anything Goes.

As an added treat, McMullan includes sketches, first drafts, photos of models, and several rejected or cropped designs, including a poster for Waiting for Godot and a portrait of Sam Waterston for Abe Lincoln in Illinois that are as good as anything in the book. With their joyous use of primary colors and dynamic capturing of actors in motion, these images are both wonderfully decorative and a fine celebration of the spontaneous excitement of live theater. --John Longenbaugh

About the Author

James McMullan, one of America's foremost illustrators, is best known for his many acclaimed theater posters for Lincoln Center. His 1976 New York magazine cover and interior illustrations inspired the imagery of the film Saturday Night Fever. He is the author of four books and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he lives
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Studio; First edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670876836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670876839
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.8 x 13.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on January 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Rarely is one able to glimpse into the world of a well-known illustrator. But, in this book, the illustrator James McMullan, takes us into his studio and explains just how he has created the 36 posters, over a 30 year period, for New York City's Lincoln Center. The full-page reproductions of McMullan's posters combined with his lucid prose makes this a beautiful and highly engrossing book. When I went to buy McMullan's book the bookstore clerk said, "this is the most gorgeous book in the store." Indeed, he was right.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a student who is interested in pursuing illustration, this book is a golden gem for it is a rather thorough journey that is fun to dive into. While many other books similiar to this would simply showcase all the artists' body of work, this book reveals the creative struggle that James McMullan went through with each poster to create an image that met his client's needs. Reference photographs of his models and early color and pencil studies depict the story that is accompanied with each poster that describes McMullan's process. Sometimes an early draft of one of his posters didn't hit the nail with the director of the play: the character depicted in the image needed to look older and more angry, less naive. Whatever the case, McMullan would have to go back and rework. And in some cases, he might even start over with an entirely new idea and take a different road with the poster. With each poster, there's a different story, a different process, a different challenge. And none of the posters that are shown in here have been neglected for the book reveals it all. Above all, I appreciate James McMullan's conceptual talent with his posters that manage to create an image that defines the play as a whole. With this book, it is a pleasure to find the process behind these posters as well as being able to gaze upon their beauty.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A fascinating book featuring the unique theater poster art of illustrator/designer James McMullan. Lavishly illustrated, this oversized volume shows the process McMullen uses in selecting just the right image for his unforgettable posters, from photo references, to sketches, to alternate versions, to finished product. As Hirschfeld is to Broadway caricatures, so McMullen is to theatrical posters.
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By dgodfrey on January 1, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
love his work- love the book. great images, very inspiring. brilliant artist. nicely designed. good addition to any poster library.
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