And here it is. After months of redesign, transferring old files, cleaning up and replacing images, the new and (hopefully) improved Richard Amsel Appreciation site is now live for you to enjoy -- including new images, reworked scans, updated data, and a new layout with additional pages. I've also added the additional domain name Richard-Amsel.com, to follow the previous RichardAmsel.info.
There may be some failed links and a few glitches here and there. I'll need a little more time to properly go through the site now that it's live. Please contact me if you need to report any technical problems.
I originally intended to have all news items archived on the new WIX server, but that was just too monumental a task. The original news archive will therefore be maintained here, on the old server, while more recent items (as of 2015) will also appear on the WIX site. For all other obsolete pages, I've included this convenient banner to direct users to the new site:
To those who ask, I never met Richard Amsel. I was only twelve when he died, and it would be another fifteen years before I knew what the man even looked like -- much less the circumstances of his death, or the colorfulness of his life. But Amsel's work has always meant so much to me; it's as influential and as magical as the movies themselves. For that, the art and the artist deserve to be remembered.
I hope, for my part, that this site will help preserve his legacy. It's a perpetual work in progress, with new additions and information added as I gather them. I welcome your contributions and feedback, and hope you'll help ensure that Amsel's work is remembered in the years to come.
Please understand that this is not an official website, though it has received wide support from members of Amsel's family, his friends and colleagues. While I'm happy to respond to any questions, I do not speak on behalf of the Amsel estate, nor can I offer professional art appraisals.
August 13, 2015: Mea Culpa...
Mea culpa. Two works on my website that I previously attributed to Richard Amsel were NOT done by Amsel... They were done by illustrator Ann Meisel, a contemporary of his, whose style was similar to Amsel's early work. As I revamp the site, I'm doing further research into images from Amsel's early years -- a period that can be difficult to collect work from. There's also so much false information out there that a number of works mistakenly attributed to Amsel manage to fool even me...
August 1, 2015: Amsel's original Nancy Reagan TV GUIDE portrait and David Byrd illustrations to go up for auction in August!
Earlier this year I interviewed David Byrd about his friendship with Richard Amsel. David still has one of Amsel's original TV GUIDE cover illustrations -- a portrait of Nancy Reagan that was featured in their June 22, 1985 issue.
How David acquired the painting is a bit of a funny story, but I digress. This, along with a number of David's own illustrations and prints, will be up for auction by the BID NETWORK ONLINE (BNO) in August. Here is a promotional video they did of David:
The Reagan portrait goes up for auction on AUGUST 13th. CLICK HERE to go to the BNO's direct page for this item; it represents a rare opportunity to own an Amsel original, and the starting bid is extremely reasonable. (And you don't have to be a Republican to appreciate it! Just say YES!)
Also, David is putting up for auction a number of originals and high quality limited prints of his own work, including his legendary Rock N' Roll concert posters, broadway and theatre posters, and other film and TV related artwork. Here are links to each of the series within BNO's website:
Years ago, Richard Amsel's friend Michael Danahy relayed a story to me regarding a Barbra Streisand portrait Amsel had painted in the style of Gustav Klimt -- which was stolen while on exhibit at the Philadelphia Art College. "The painting was gorgeous," he said. "I was shocked when I found out, and I asked Richard if he was okay. I thought he'd be so upset, but instead he laughed ... he was compensated $147,000, and was thrilled! He told me, 'God, I hope they don't find it, otherwise I might have to give all that money back!'"
It's been about forty years since that painting's whereabouts were known...but now I'm happy to say it has been found by an avid art collector, and remains in great condition -- as the following photo proves:
I'll post more news on this piece shortly.
July 30, 2015: Amsel's portrait of Bette Midler was in the running for Smithsonian's "Recognize wall" last fall.
The National Portrait Gallery pulled three images from its vast collection last month and asked the Internet to pick the one to hang in a prominent space.
The ballot gave biographical information about the choices — artist Georgia O’Keeffe, civil rights activist James Meredith and singer Bette Midler — but it raised a baffling question: Why these three seemingly disparate images? What was the connection?
The answer might surprise you.
But first, the winner was Arnold Newman’s photograph of O’Keeffe, which received 43 percent of the 3,829 votes cast, according to the museum. Meredith came in a distant second with 30 percent, and Midler third.
As a result, the photograph of O’Keeffe has been placed on the museum’s Recognize wall — off the gallery’s G Street lobby — which is the space it uses to react to public events. It’s where a portrait of Robin Williams was displayed after the comedian’s death, for example, and where an image of Katy Perry was featured when she performed at the nearby Verizon Center this summer.
Museum officials declared the crowdsourcing project a success, and they have plans for a second vote early next year. Balloting lasted only two weeks because “the Internet doesn’t have a long attention span,” program manager Allison Jessing said. “We wanted that sense of urgency.”
And the voting happened only online, as a way to avoid ballot stuffing in the gallery and to engage audiences beyond the museum walls.
But why these three? Jessing said they couldn’t just open the vault and bring out any image they wanted — it is a museum after all, with often-controlling curators and conservators at the ready with a lusty “no.” So a small committee started with eight or 10 pieces that were “conservation-ready and display-ready” and pared them down to these three.
The connective tissue is Kleenex thin: Each had an anniversary during the time of the project, although none is a milestone. O’Keeffe’s 127th birthday would have been Nov. 15 (she was born in 1887) and Midler turns 69 on Dec. 1. Meredith became the first African American student at the University of Mississippi — a significant event in the civil rights movement — on Oct. 1, 1962, 52 years ago.
Ian Cooke, who manages the program with Jessing, said the head-scratching is welcome.
“One of the things we hope to do is showcase the breadth of our collection,” he said. Cooke and Jessing are already researching the next group of choices to present to audiences next year. “One of the things we’re excited about, that’s baked into what we do, is we are in a two-way relationship and we want to hear back from” visitors, Cooke said. “We want to expand the conversation.”
November 22, 2014: ROCK AND ROLL OVER! THE 28TH LIVE AUCTION! VOTED THE WORLDS LARGEST PSYCHEDELIC ERA INSPIRED AUCTION!
Hey guys, I wanted to pass along news of a Rock Art auction tomorrow, featuring legendary work from leading artists -- including my dear friend David Edward Byrd...
November 23, 2014 - 8AM PST
Please join us for a rockin' auction that pays homage to the music scene of the 60's and 70's psychedelic era. PashCo Posters is hosting our quarterly rock auction - the last of the year, on November 23rd, 2014 starting at 8am (Pacific). In this collection you will find an amazing assortment of vintage and rare items, signed and numbered lithos, beautiful 60's silkscreens, a massive collection of original mint, near mint and VG+ posters, and of course a few surprises.
Featured this quarter is a selection of MINT, SIGNED DAVID BYRD posters, including his two newest (Prince and CSNY) never available to the public. You'll also find Blacklight, Anti-war, Rock, Hippy, Peace and Love in this quarter's offerings, and some very rare Zappa framed mint items. There really is something for everyone, from the budding collector to the advanced aficionado.
Once again, we hope to have the camera and audio working so you can hear some history behind each piece. Please join us and Rock on!
August 13, 2014: New TWENTY-FOUR BY THIRTY-SIX trailer.
Whoa! Check out this trailer for TWENTY-FOUR BY THIRTY-SIX, a documentary in progress about movie poster art. I'm especially happy that the trailer opens with Richard Amsel, and hope the film will help ensure his creative legacy.