Monday, February 9, 2015

Opera Connection To TIME Magazine Covers From 1942-1970

Portrait of Renata Tebaldi by Boris Chaliapin
Started in 1923, Time went on to have the world's largest circulation for a weekly news magazine with a readership of 25 million. Covers of the magazine featured politicians, business executives, religious figures, as well as artists from various genres including ballet, film, art, and music. Within the music category, it was opera singers, composers, instrumentalists, and conductors that were proudly splashed on the cover of the successful magazine. This coverage leant itself to widening the audience of the arts outside of the concert hall and opera houses. It may be surprising to know that the artwork for many of those covers was created by painter Boris Chaliapin, son of the famed Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and brother to hollywood actor Feodor Chaliapin Jr. (know to many for his role in the operatically-based film Moonstruck). "Boris Chaliapin was the portrait artist Time magazine’s editors turned to first when they needed a cover in a hurry. As Time’s most prolific artist, he created 413 covers for the publication during his 28-year career, between 1942 and 1970. He could execute excellent likenesses in as little as 12 hours. Week after week, millions of faithful readers recognized Chaliapin’s familiar signature on the cover, and his co-workers nicknamed him 'Mr. Time.'" The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., ran an exhibition last year featuring 26 of the 300 works by Chaliapin. Browse the various works of art by clicking here. [SourceSource] Purchase past Time magazine covers here. After the jump: a curious comparison with one of Chaliapin's portraits; more biographical information about Boris Chaliapin; view all Time covers by various artists and photographers that were related to opera including such opera divas as Geraldine Farrar, Nellie Melba, Maria Jeritza, Lucrezia Bori, Mary Garden, Rosa Ponselle, Lily Pons, Kirsten Flagstad, Lotte Lehmann, Helen Traubel, Marian Anderson, Patrice Munsel, Maria Callas, Leontyne Price, and Beverly Sills. More music artist portraits by Boris Chaliapin:
George London

Gian Carlo Menotti
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederik Loewe
Fritz Reiner

Arturo Toscanini
Boris Chaliapin created the 1960 cover portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy who would go on to later marry the ex-boyfriend of diva Maria Callas. It's hard to deny the similarity to a 1959 photo of Callas in a session that eventually covered a Verdi Arias album for EMI records:

Boris Chaliapin (1904–1979) was the son of Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin and brother of The Name of the Rose actor Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. He worked as an artist for Time magazine, for which he illustrated more than 400 covers, from 1942 (featuring Jawaharlal Nehru) to 1970 (featuring Richard Nixon). [Source]

Chaliapin came from a family of Russian virtuosos. His father, Feodor Chaliapin, was a renowned operatic basso, and his brother, Feodor, Jr., acted in Hollywood films. Boris had art training in Russia and Paris, and an exhibition in London before he began working for Time. His first commission for the magazine was of Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru in 1942. Many more followed, including politicians (Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Golda Meir) and celebrities (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali)." [Source]

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