Richard Amsel - Good Things Come In Threes...
It is a real thrill every time we track down a beautiful example of Richard Amsel’s incredible movie poster artwork. This week we were lucky enough to find two.
They say that good things come in threes and in this instance, the third came in the form of news of the late artist’s legacy.
First off, film-maker Adam McDaniel gave a wonderful Q&A update on his forthcoming documentary Amsel: Illustrator of the Lost Art. After eight years of research, including over sixty interviews with Amsel’s friends, family and creative associates, the project is moving at pace. Completion, if not in sight, is just over the horizon.
You can find Adam’s Q&A session below. It’s great viewing for any fan of Amsel’s work, or of illustrated movie posters in general.
Secondly, Amsel will be posthumously inducted into The Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, in a special event in New York City on Sept. 9th. The citation reads:
The short career of Richard Amsel (1947 – 1985) has become one of the most influential of all time.
His celebrity portraits from the 1970s and 1980s adorned the covers of TV Guide for thirteen years. Amsel landed his first major client with 20th Century Fox shortly after graduating from Philadelphia College of Arts. His poster of Barbra Streisand for Hello, Dolly! earned him immediate recognition, and he went on to create the album art for Bette Midler’s Divine Miss M. But it was his movie poster commissions that are perhaps his most iconic.
With such titles as Chinatown, The Muppet Movie, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shootist, The Sting, The Dark Crystal, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, among others, Amsel’s work became widely recognizable and applauded by the illustration, film and television community as well as the general public.
In 1985, Amsel passed away at the young age of 37 due to complications from AIDS.
He is the recipient of multiple awards both posthumously and while he lived, including several medals from the Society of Illustrators.
The Society have given McDaniel permission to film the induction ceremony and no doubt it will form an important part of the completed documentary.
Commercial illustration, of which movie posters are an example, has long been the poor cousin of fine art. It is wonderful that an artist as talented as Richard Amsel is receiving such recognition, albeit almost forty years after his untimely death.
I’ll leave the last words of this post to Adam McDaniel.