The Society of Illustrators annually inducts to its Hall of Fame artists recognized for their “distinguished achievement in the art of illustration.” This year’s honorees include contemporary illustrators Seymour Chwast, Wendell Minor and Barron Storey as well as posthumous honorees Richard Amsel, Anna Whelan Betts, Reynold Brown and Helen Hokinson.
Artists are elected by a committee that includes former presidents of the Society and illustration historians. They are chosen based on their body of work and the impact it has made on the field of illustration.
The Society will be honoring this year’s inductees at a ceremony on September 9.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS.
The incredible career of influential and legendary designer Seymour Chwast (b. 1931) spans over six decades. He is afounding partner of the groundbreaking Push Pin Studios, established in 1954 by a group of college friends from Cooper Union in New York City. This group of highly talented designers and illustrators introduced a new, collaborative style to the design world, redefining visual culture and influencing artists for generations to come. Chwast moved into a Director role at the storied organization, later renaming it the Pushpin Group in 1985. His vast client list includes the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and Print, as well as leading corporations, advertising agencies, and publishers both in the United States and abroad. His work has been showcased all over the world in both retrospectives and one-man shows, including the exhibit “The Push Pin Style,” a two-month retrospective at the Louvre’s famed Musée des Arts Décoratifs. His posters reside in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Gutenberg Museum. In 2015, Washington University’s Modern Graphic History Library in St.Louis acquired Chwast’s complete archive including posters, which will soon be available for study by students and the general public.
Wendell Minor (b. 1944) began his career as a book cover designer, creating iconic covers for noted authors David McCullough and Pat Conroy among many others. His transition to children’s book illustrator and author of over 60 award winning books continues to be very rewarding. As a nature lover and history buff, Minor loves sharing those interests with children through the books he has authored or co-authored with Jean Craighead George, Tony Johnston, Robert Burleigh, Charlotte Zolotow, Margaret Wise Brown, Buzz Aldrin, Mary Higgins Clark, Jane Yolen, and last but not least, his wife Florence. Minor’s books have received the Cook Prize, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, New York Public Library’s 100 Best Books for Kids, Junior Library Guild Gold Selections, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Children, Outstanding Science Trade Books, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library selection, Pennsylvania One Book Every Young Child selection, ALA Notable Book, John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, and the John and Patricia Beatty Award. Minor was honored to be the 2018-2019 Artist Laureate of the Norman Rockwell Museum. He has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Connecticut. Minor has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Public Library, New Britain Museum of American Art, Eric Carle Museum, and Norman Rockwell Museum, among many others. Wendell’s portrait of David McCullough’s “TRMAN” is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Illustrator, graphic novelist, and educator Barron Storey (b. 1940) began his career as a commercial artist in the 1960s. Studying under Robert Weaver at the School of Visual Arts, Storey’s career took off with such notable clients as Boys’ Life, Reader’s Digest, and National Geographic. His most iconic images are now part of the collection of multiple prestigious museums. His cover portraits of Howards Hughes and Yitzhak Rabin for TIME magazine hang in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, his famous painting of the Amazon rainforest can be found at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, and his 1979 portrayal of NASA’s space shuttle is part of the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall collection. In addition to his editorial work, Storey created the iconic images for several book covers, most notably the 1980 reissue of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. His work for graphic novels includes his Eisner-award winning work on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Endless Nights (DC/Vertigo) as well as Barron Storey’s WATCH Magazine (Vanguard), and his novel Life After Black. In 2001, Storey was awarded the Society of Illustrators’ Distinguished Educator in the Arts award for his years of service and influence at the San Diego California College of the Arts and San Jose State University.
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.
During a time when women had few rights and positions in society, highly educated and talented Anna Whelan Betts (1873 – 1959) broke barriers and established herself as a leading illustrator. She began her career studying when few women were even allowed to attend classes. A graduate of the Philadelphia Academy, Anna Whelan Betts furthered her education with instruction from artist Gustave-Claude-Etinenne Courtois during her time in France, followed by instruction from renowned illustrator Howard Pyle at Drexel University in the United States. In 1899 she landed her first commission for Collier’s, with further work appearing in such notable periodicals as Century Magazine, Harper’s Monthly, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Everybody’s Magazine, among others. Her work was also featured in several books including Sarah Orne Jewett’s Betty Leicester’s Christmas as well as Houghton Mifflin Company’s The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. After retiring from illustration due to poor eyesight, Betts would go on to teach art at a boy’s private school in Pennsylvania before her death in 1959.
Realist painter Reynold Brown (1917 – 1991) earned accolades and recognition in several genres of illustration during his lifetime. His career began right after high school while employed as a comic artist working (uncredited) under Hal Forrest on the Tailspin Tommy strip. After a stint at the Otis Art Institute in California and the emergence of WWII, Brown worked as a technical artist for North American Aviation where he created the first cut-away illustrations of fighter planes. With his heightened technical skills and artistic ability realizable, Brown relocated to New York City and began a freelance career earning commissions for periodicals like Argosy, Popular Science, Saturday Evening Post, Boys’ Life, Outdoor Life,and Popular Aviation. In addition, his work graced the covers of numerous paperbacks. In 1950, Brown and his family moved back to California where he began teaching at the Art Center College of Design. It was during this time that Brown’s career changed direction once again, and for the next twenty years Brown would create some of his most iconic work, appearing on film posters for MGM, Universal Pictures, Disney, Warner Bros., AIP, and others. During the 1970s, Brown switched gears yet again and dove into the Western genre with a focus on action shots and portraits. Today, his work remains highly collectible and influential.
Cartoonist Helen Hokinson (1893 – 1949) is best known for her New Yorker cartoons depicting the daily lives and social scenes of the 1920s and 1930s. Upon graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Hokinson earned an income by sketching for the city’s famous department stores. Soon after, Hokinson relocated to New York City, picking up fashion illustration jobs for B. Altman and Lord & Taylor while also completing a short-lived comic for the Daily Mirror. During this time, Hokinson attended the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (now Parsons School of Design) and studied under Howard Giles, whose influence guided her to discover and draw everyday characters and subject matters from around the city. In 1925, Hokinson earned her first commission from The New Yorker. She would go on to create over 68 covers and 1,800 cartoons for the storied magazine, earning her a comfortable and secure, independent lifestyle. In addition to her cartoons, Hokinson illustrated numerous books for others. She published three books of her own collected work during her lifetime, and three more were published following her death.
[Based on a press release.]