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Object Timeline

1946

  • Work on this object began.

2002

  • We acquired this object.

2011

2018

  • You found it!

Book Cover, Selected Poems, 1946

This is a Book cover. It was published by New Directions Books. It is dated 1946 and we acquired it in 2002. Its medium is offset lithograph on white coated paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In a relatively short period of time, Alvin Lustig, who died at the young age of forty, designed some of the most formidable book covers in American twentieth-century design. Among these are over eighty covers Lustig designed for New Directions from 1941 to 1955, including this cover of Selected Poems by Kenneth Patchen. The idea that a jacket had to directly reference its content no longer necessarily applied; book covers mixing symbols, text and color, appealed directly to potential buyers. Booksellers began paying attention to the visual appearance of books in the 1940s and 1950s, and created visual displays in their store windows and shop floors for merchandise that was now designed to be off of the shelves and be seen.

It is credited Gift of Susan Lustig Peck.

Its dimensions are

(irregular): 18.4 x 17.8 cm (7 1/4 in. x 7 in.)

It is signed

Imprinted in red, upper right: lustig

It is inscribed

Imprinted in black, lower center: KENNETH PATCHEN; lower left quadrant: selected poems; in red, upper right corner: lustig; along spine (sideways), in red: SELECTED POEMS; in black: KENNETH PATCHEN; on lower spine: NC12

Cite this object as

Book Cover, Selected Poems, 1946; Published by New Directions Books ; USA; offset lithograph on white coated paper; (irregular): 18.4 x 17.8 cm (7 1/4 in. x 7 in.); Gift of Susan Lustig Peck; 2001-29-8

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18694763/ |title=Book Cover, Selected Poems, 1946 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 October 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>