Carol and Murray Tinkelman. Photo courtesy Walt Engels.
Acclaimed artist Murray Tinkelman (1933-2016) died January 30. He was 82. He was preceded in death by his wife Carol, who died January 16.
Arnie Fenner notes, “Fans might remember him best for his covers for Ballantine’s Lovecraft paperbacks in the late 1970s. Murray also did the covers for the hardcover and paperback Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up, Haldeman’s The Forever War, and others.”
Leading sf artist Vincent DiFate, a former President of the Society of Illustrators, describes the unique style of those covers:
In the 1960’s for example, he formulated an interesting method that applied colored inks and dyes to drawings rendered exclusively in line. Using this technique, Tinkelman almost single-handedly revolutionized the horror genre a decade later when his work began appearing on the covers of del Rey’s mass-market editions of books by noted horror author H. P. Lovecraft.
Since the artist used an open crosshatch technique, his illustrations appeared light in tone, reminiscent of an old photograph that had faded with time. Contrasted with the fully rendered paintings of other paperback artists, Tinkelman’s drawings looked so unlike traditional book cover art that they had an immediate and significant impact. In the case of the Lovecraft books, especially, which had been repackaged dozens of times before with the most dire and morbid of cover illustrations, Tinkelman’s airy, often whimsical visions lightened the look of those books and no doubt helped to introduce them to an entirely new audience of readers.”
Carol Tinkelman was Murray’s partner in his art studio from its inception in 1957. The Norman Rockwell Museum’s tribute credited her work on its behalf, and the couple’s generosity:
“Carol was a driving force behind Norman Rockwell Museum’s illustration collecting mission, and her passion was to help the Museum build its collection of original illustration art,” notes Museum Deputy Director/Chief Curator, Stephanie Haboush Plunkett. “She and Murray donated from their own collections extensively, and invited other artists to do so as well. Carol will be greatly missed. Her spirit was infectious and she truly loved the Museum and its work.”
Murray Tinkelman’s illustrations appeared in Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. The National Park Service commissioned him to do drawings and paintings of National Parks and Monuments. He was an artist-reporter on several U.S. Air Force missions.
He had a one-man exhibit of his baseball art at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown in 1994. He also exhibited at The United States Sports Academy in Alabama, which named him the 1995 Sports Artist of the Year.
His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
In 1956, Tinkelman joined the celebrated Charles E. Cooper Studio and remained there until its disbanding, some eight years later. From the mid-1960s on, he became fully freelance and pursued simultaneous careers in illustration and as a painter of abstract expressionist artworks. In 1970, was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York for his work as an illustrator.
He also enjoyed a reputation as a great teacher. In the late 1960s he joined the faculty at the Parsons School of Design and, as its Associate Chairperson. He later taught at Syracuse University, in its undergraduate and graduate programs. He received the 2001 Syracuse University Faculty Service Citation. He also was named the recipient of the 1999 Distinguished Educator in the Arts award from the Society of Illustrators in New York, the second living artist/educator to be so honored.
In the spring of 2013, Tinkelman he received an honorary doctorate from Ferris University’s Kendall College of Art in Grand Rapids, MI, and was inducted to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
[Thanks to Arnie Fenner and Andrew Porter for the story.]