• Steven Brower

Magazine Covers by Famous Artists: Warhol, Lichtenstein, Banksy, Fairey & More

This is the fourth in a series of graphic work by fine artists and unexpected designers.

I had originally planned on posting the typography of famous artists as the next in this series. But research is falling down the rabbit hole. I would be remiss if I did not include these recent discoveries. Stuart Davis (1892–1964) was an American painter best known for his Cubist, jazz and billboard inspired modernist paintings. Early in his career, as a political progressive, he was a regular contributor to the leftist magazines The Masses and The New Masses. During the Great Depression he worked on several murals for the Federal Art Project. Other regular contributors to these magazines included renowned artists George Bellows and Alexander (Sandy) Calder.

Stuart Davis, 1926

Stuart Davis, 1913

Stuart Davis, 1915

George Bellows, 1915

Alexander (Sandy) Calder, 1926

One of the many artists Davis influenced was Andy Warhol (1928—1987), father of the pop art movement. Beginning his career as an illustrator it is no wonder that he continually blurred the line between fine and the applied arts. In addition to his better known designs for albums covers (the eponymous titled “The Velvet Underground” and “Sticky Fingers” for the Rolling Stones) and Interview magazine, which he founded, he contributed covers to several publications, including Time and Vogue. Other Time contributors included fellow pop-artist Roy Lichentstein (1923—1997) and other famed artists Marc Chagall (1887—1985), Robert Rauschenberg ( 1925—2008), Romare Bearden (1911—1988 ), Ben Shahn (1898—1969), Jacob Lawrence (1911—2000) and Alex Katz (born 1927).

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, 1984

Andy Warhol, 1965

Andy Warhol, 1986

Andy Warhol, 1984

Roy Lichtenstein, 1968

Roy Lichtenstein, 1968

Mark Chagall, 1965

Ben Shahn, 1962

Ben Shahn, 1962

Robert Rauschenberg, 1967

Alex Katz, 1982

Romare Bearden, 1970

Romare Bearden

Jacob Lawrence, 1968

Bridging the centuries is controversial contemporary artist Jeff Koons (born 1955), who created a cover for the New York Times Style magazine in 2009. The magazine also invited other artists such as Jenny Holzer (born 1950), Franceso Vezzoli (born 1971) , identical twins Doug and Mike Starn (born 1961) and even architect Frank Gerry (born 1929).

Jeff Koons

The Starn brothers

The fashion magazine W has likewise hired Vezzoli and Barbara Kruger (born 1945) to grace their covers. Perhaps the most famous artist today in the mysterious street artist Banksy, who has created covers for Time Out magazine among others.

Francesco Vezzoli

Barbara Kruger


Bringing things full circle is artist Shepard Fairey (born 1970) of “Obey” and “Hope” fame, who also began his career as a street artist but these days is primarily a designer/ illustrator who contributes covers to magazines such as Time and The Nation and produces myriad posters, including three popular on the recent Women’s March.

Shepard Fairey

Read more from this series: 

  1. Magazine Covers by Famous Artists: Dali, Picasso, Braque & More

  2. The Graphic Design Work of Pablo Picasso

  3. The Graphic Design Work of Henri Matisse

Perfect your hand lettering skills in a new workshop from HOW Design University: Hand-Lettering Experiments — Textures. In this module you will learn how to ‘write’ letters to visually match specific textures or create pattern, use different experimental tools and apply various calligraphic/hand-lettering techniques.

#RomareBearden #art #design #RoyLichtenstein #GeorgeBellows #illustration #JacobLawrence #RobertRauschenberg #TheStarnbrothers #AndyWarhol #MarkChagall #JeffKoons


Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine Finally Shuts Up

Little Dot: A Comic Book Pioneer of Today’s Avant-Garde Art Scene

Pop Art-Inspired Movie Posters for the 2017 Oscars

Flash Gordon, the Grid, and the Midcentury West Coast Art Scene

Andy Warhol’s Magazine Career, from Raggedy to Riches

About Steven Brower

Steven Brower is a graphic designer, writer, and educator and a former creative director/art director of Print. He is the author and designer of books on Louis Armstrong, Mort Meskin, Woody Guthrie and the history of mass-market paperbacks. He is director of the “Get Your Masters with the Masters” low-residency M.F.A. program for educators and working professionals at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. You can follow him on Twitter: @stevenianbrower.

View all posts by Steven Brower →