THE NEW YORKER IS CELEBRATING its 90th anniversary with nine covers by nine illustrators including award-winning artist Kadir Nelson.

The magazine’s first issue in February 1925 featured a “starchy-looking gent with the beaver hat and the monocle,” an iconic character who later became known as Eustace Tilley. Standing the test of time, Tilley has been parodied and reinterpreted over the years and appeared on every February edition until 1994. To mark its 90th, the magazine has turned to the character once again for inspiration.

 

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Los Angeles-based Kadir Nelson illustrated one of nine 90th anniversary covers for The New Yorker’s combined Feb. 23 & March 2, 2015, edition.

 

“To celebrate the fact that we’re entering our tenth decade, we turned, as we do every week, to our artists for ideas, and this time we decided to publish more than one. We picked nine covers for our ninety years, selecting images that reflect the talent and diversity of our contributors and the range of artistic media they use,” art director Francoise Mouley wrote on the New Yorker’s website today.

“Each brings Eustace Tilley squarely into the twenty-first century, and proves that art is as alive on the cover of the magazine today as it was in 1925.”

“We picked nine covers for our ninety years, selecting images that reflect the talent and diversity of our contributors and the range of artistic media they use.” — Frances Mouley, art director, The New Yorker

Along with Nelson, Istvan Banyai, Barry Blitt, Roz Chast, Carter Goodrich, Anita Kunz, Lorenzo Mattotti, Peter Mendelsund and Christoph Niemannm, contributed covers for the special double issue (Feb. 23 and March 2, 2015).

Known for illustrating children’s books and U.S. Postage Stamps (most recently Wilt Chamberlain and Ralph Ellison), Nelson has also collaborated with corporations and worked on music and film industry projects. In 2013, Nelson wrote and illustrated a children’s book about Nelson Mandela and when the South African leader died later in the year, he illustrated “Madiba,” the Dec. 16, 2013, New Yorker cover commemorating his life.

Executed in oil paint, Nelson’s cover for the magazine’s 90th anniversary depicts Tilley as a distinguished, contemporary Black man dressed in a casual ensemble including a wool winter coat and sweater, complete with smart phone and ear buds. CT

 

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