Much has been written about Alex Steinweiss, the first creator of original record album cover art and inventor of the LP cardboard package. I’ve contributed some to that body of literature, as have Jennifer McKnight-Trontz in For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Kevin Reagan in Alex Steinweiss: Creator of the Modern Album Cover. and Eric Kohler in In the Grove: Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960. Steinweiss was also well documented in various magazines and on his own website. He passed away on Sunday, July 17, at 94. I wrote the obituary for the NY Times.
His passing was to be expected. He lived a very fruitful life. Indeed a second life, having been rediscovered as a design pioneer some years after he left the music profession to younger designers. He lived to enjoy the fruits of revival with conferences, videos, exhibitions, articles and books celebrating and analyzing his achievements.
And yet he did not feel the need to return to the practice. He was content making ceramics and artworks, one of which I share with you today in his memory. He was a master crafts person with an insatiable desire to work in many media. The image above is a lithograph in four colors, titled “Tangency #9,” a piece of visual jazz. It is signed Piedra Blanca (White Stone), which is the pseudonym he used for some of his more minimalist record covers. It hangs on my wall as a reminder that he was indeed an all-around artist.