A much more complete treatment can be seen in the Patrick Nagel article at Wikipedia.
Patrick Nagel (November 25, 1945 - February 4, 1984) was an American artist. In his lifetime he created hundreds of illustrations on board, paper, and canvas, most of which emphasizes the simple grace of and beauty of the female form.
Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio but was raised and spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area. He attended the Choinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Nagel's work is superficially reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, with their unusual cropping and large fields of color, but thematically, Nagel's shares more in common with 1920s Art Deco and the design aesthetics of J. C. Leyendecker or Maxfield Parrish.
Nagel would start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were most important. Because of the intense stylization and reduction of facial features into clean lines, generally the figures resemble each other, though Nagel worked with many models. Nagel also painted several celebrity portraits.
While Nagel's work is mostly represented by aloof, if also seductive women, they are rarely, if ever, presented in a submissive relationship with men. These are highly sexual, but empowered and intelligent women. Nagel also painted men, though only one was ever released as a fine art print while Nagel was alive. He had and continues to have a devoted following of collectors.
Nagel and his work garnered international acclaim through work connected with Playboy and Duran Duran, for which he designed the cover of the best selling album Rio, as well as many commercial projects.
In 1984, at the age of 38, the artist participated in a 15-minute celebrity "Aerobathon" to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Afterwards, he was found dead in his car, and doctors determined by autopsy that he had suffered a fatal heart attack.
In popular culture
- In the Futurama episode "A Fishful of Dollars", the "authentic 20th century apartment" has what appears to be a Nagel-esque poster of a woman on the wall.
- In the Vertigo comics series The Sandman, the character Desire of The Endless is generally illustrated to resemble a Nagel print, specifically the portrait used for the Rio album cover. Neil Gaiman, the creator of the series and character, had previously written a biography for the band in 1984.
- The packaging and promotional material for the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City similarly exhibits a stylistic debt to Nagel's work.
- Nagel's artwork strongly influenced much of the illustration and clip art of the late 1980s and illustrations of women strongly resembling those seen in Nagel's art can still be seen on American hair salons and other beauty-oriented businesses.
- A copy of his work can be seen in the background in the Daria episode #507, "Art Burn".
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