DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mr. Time

They called him Mr. Time. For 3 decades, from 1942 to 1970, whenever the editors of Time magazine needed a cover picture in a hurry, they would turn to Russian-born artist Boris Chaliapin.

In a time before photographs were used for Time covers, Chaliapin could execute a creative lifelike portrait in 12 hours, which was essential for breaking news. For more routine stories, he could produce art in 3 days, where other artists required a week or more.

During his career, Chaliapin produced 413 covers. While given the gender politics of the era, most of Chaliapin's subjects were males, he especially excelled in female cover portraits. The painter said beauty went hand-in-hand with his concept of creating "impressions of his cover subjects rather than to portray them in minute detail."

TV Western Heroes - March 30, 1957

New York World's Fair - June 5, 1964
Currently, 26 of Chaliapin's renditions are on display at the National Portrait Gallery . The displayed pieces are part of that institution's collection of more than 2,000 works of original cover art.

While circumstances necessitated his working mostly from photographs, Chaliapin preferred live sittings. He became the most popular of all of Time's stable of artists. However, not all of his work made the cover. Here are 2 examples of paintings that didn't.

1947 - Stan Musial

1970 - Crime in the Streets

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
If you want to see the 26 art works by Chaliapin, the exhibition will continue until January 5th.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts