Alex Steinweiss (1917 – 2011) played a seminal role in record cover design as the Art Director for Columbia Records, as well as other record companies – London, Decca and A&R Records. He also worked for clients including National Distillery, Schenly Distributors, as well as “Print” and “Fortune” magazines. When Alex Steinweiss was appointed as art director at Columbia Records in 1938, there was no such thing as a record sleeve. 250,000 in the equipment needed to print on record packaging. No longer would records come in plain brown wrappers. Steinweiss created the ‘album package.’ It was an instant success, and created an entirely new field of illustration and design in the form of Album Cover Art. Quote: ” I got this idea that the way they were selling these albums was ridiculous. The covers were just big brown, tan or green paper. I said “Who the hell’s going to buy this stuff? There’s no push to it. From about 1940 to 1943, Masterworks sets without unique covers (and this was the vast majority of them) came in plain grey covers with the title and artist information enclosed within a box. After that, an attractive new generic design was unveiled which, though unsigned by Steinweiss, appears to be his work ( in particular, the lower-case rendering of “columbia” is a hallmark of his style).
Artist And Art By Alex Steinweiss
Interestingly people who were “doing something” have often been categorised within their context – either Urban or Landscape. I kept coming back for another look. Portraits were distinctly unflashy – the jury for this prize were clearly not trying to replicate the BP Portrait Award in any way. That said, I could have done with seeing more narrative paintings involving figures and/or group portraits. Those who can pull off an impressive group portrait seem to be a dying breed of painter! Smaller paintings hung near the entrance to the North Galleries. I particularly liked this section – lots to look at! I think I’d have had the painting below in the Still Life section – since they were alive and now they are still. But it’s been categorised as “Nature”. This category was as much about the interior / domestic scenes as it was about conventional still life. Often about making the mundane look interesting – often through choice of subject, crop and composition and colour palette. The North Galleries has, in my opinion, one of the best hung walls in the exhibition.
I just loved the way the orange colour popped then rested then echoed up and down the wall. The interesting aspect of the exhibition for me was the dominance of Urban and City Life as a theme. There was something fairly stark about a number of the paintings of urban city life. It also included two of the most impressive and shortlisted works including the winner (top left in the above photograph). I thought some of the prices were absolutely crackers. In my opinion it’s a HUGE mistake to price for the exhibition – as some artists evidently have done – rather than the artist. Quite apart from anything else, potential buyers are quite capable of checking out an artist’s track record online. By all means, add on a small premium, but don’t expect to charge thousands and sell your work unless it’s evident that you have a track record of sales at that level and/or a very impressive work of art. Use the online exhibition on the website to track which paintings have sold and which have not. Posts on this blog about the first decade of the Threadneedle Prize.
He felt she’d made the best job of capturing him. The Judges commented on how FAST they managed to arrive at who should be in the Shortlist – in under a minute. I’m personally not surprised. To me there were only four contenders. Robyn Parker – who demonstrated an art medium which was new to the Judges and how to control it. These are their self portraits and with their heat paintings – and remember what I said earlier about the lack of a gap between the submission and the performance in the Heat? I was surprised at the difference in size of the two pieces and the speed with which Shalewa worked to complete her Heat Portrait. Like Archie she finished the background as well a the head. Interestingly because his submission was small his heat portrait looked more impressive as a result – although both were of head and upper torso. He was also the only painter in wet media to finish a portrait properly in the sense of completing the background. I very much liked Robyn’s self portrait. Unsurprisingly, the Judges chose Archie Wardlaw as their winner. I’m not in the least bit surprised – and nor were many of those who follow the competition and tweet about it. The consensus was Archie was very definitely the winner.