Warhol's jazz covers

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In the 1950s, after Andy Warhol developed a solid commercial art reputation through his shoe advertisements, he was hired by RCA Records to do album art for LPs by the likes of Count Basie (above), Artie Shaw, and Thelonious Monk. See a bunch of them at Dangerous Minds.

You can also pick up your own original vinyl of Kenny Burrell's "Blue Lights" with the Warhol cover at eBay for just... $800.

Notable Replies

  1. Was the Count Basie album supposed to still kinda look like a face when turned upside down? Or was that an accident? I'm not into Basie or Warhol: so I honestly don't know. I tried Google but nothing obvious came up...

  2. I think you made a real discovery! After reading your post I did some research into the Count Basie album cover and have found no mention of the hidden image. I'm sure Warhol knew what he was doing when he drew the Basie portrait. You have a great eye! Warhol's album covers have been shown in museum exhibits and I have yet to see a mention of the upside down portrait. Geeze, you could have written a thesis for your art history degree with that. It would be good to compare the photo Warhol used to his drawing.

  3. For real? I Googled some photos of Basie and at around the time of that album but I couldn't find any photos of him with a wrinkly forehead at all (it's actually quite smooth in a 1955 pic: he was 51 at the time. My forehead is much wrinklier than his and I'm younger haha.) But I find it hard to believe no one has sat around blowing reefer with jazz albums strewn on their floor in the last almost-60 years and not seen this album cover upside down and thought "Bwah ha ha! There's a face!" It just seems so unlikely. But oh well. Cool! smile

  4. d_r says:

    The Kenny Burrell cover looks to be Warhol's tribute to a common Matisse style of line drawing of women, for example Sleeping Model. Matisse did dozens of these, they're fantastic. The line of the nose becoming an eyebrow is a standard element of his.

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