Thursday, April 7, 2016

Boris Chaliapin: Time Magazine Cover Artist

Boris Chaliapin (1904–1979) was a son of famed Russian opera singer Fyodor Chaliapin. But being a post-revolution emigré, he had to forge his own career and did it very well. Over 1942-1970 he painted 414 covers for Time, America's leading weekly news magazine in those days.

Chaliapin seems to have been a fast worker -- hard to believe, given the amount of detail he normally placed on portraits and backgrounds. But over his 28-year grind with Time, he produced at the rate of slightly more than one cover illustration per month. And some were done on short notice such as the one of Queen Elizabeth, below, that appeared shortly after the death of her father, King George VI.

For a reason I find hard to understand, there is little in the way of biographical information on the Internet regarding Chaliapin. So allow me to offer as a link this post by David Apatoff who, like me, appreciates Chaliapin's wok.


Olga Spessivtseva - 1932

Olga Spessivtseva - 1934
Two portraits of the Russian ballet dancer who was living in Paris in the early 1930s, as apparently was Chaliapin. They are included to show what he was capable of in his pre-Time days.

Queen Elizabeth - Time, 18 February 1952

John Wayne - Time, 3 March 1952
Magazine editors chose the subjects he painted. The cover subject was the basis for a long "cover story" inside that issue.

Rosalind Russell - Time, 30 March 1953
She was a Broadway and Hollywood star.

Walt Disney - Time, 27 December 1954
Disneyland was to open the following summer.

Marilyn Monroe - 14 May 1956
Still famous.

Le Corbusier - Time, 5 May 1961
The controversial modernist architect.

Charles de Gaulle - Time, 8 February 1963
France, personified.

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