Top of Their Class

Johnny Craig’s artwork for “Rendezvous,” published in Crime SuspenStories #16, 1953 ©William M. Gaines Agent, Inc.

Just in time for June’s graduation season, we’re taking a look back at some of our illustrious alumni artists… and architects, puppeteers, set designers, and so much more! Over our 90+ years we’ve shown artists at the Top of Their Class in all the traditional art mediums, but we’ve also shown some very special maestros of some very special disciplines.

Tony Award winning set designer Tony Walton was featured in 1991’s Tony Walton: Designing for Stage and Screen, 1995 saw a solo show of internationally acclaimed Cesar Pelli (Cesar Pelli: Architecture of Response) after he was chosen to design an addition to the Greenwich Library, and we exhibited legendary photographer George Tice in 2016’s American Lens: B&W Photography.

In 1994 we had the pleasure of bringing puppetry visionary Jim Henson home in Jim Henson: The Greenwich Years/1964-1971. Working with Jane Henson and the Jim Henson Legacy, our committee created a special exhibition uniquely focused on the years that the Hensons, along with their growing family, lived in Greenwich. This fertile period saw the birth of Sesame Street and the 1965 Academy Award nominated experimental short film, Time Piece, which we showed in a screening room.

The world of publishing has provided many artists to the Flinn over the years. In 1969 we showed “Look” Looks at Poverty which included influential photojournalists Charlotte Brooks and Bob Adelman, amongst others. Syndicated political cartoonist Ranan Lurie had a solo show in 1989, and we exhibited drawings by EC Comics’ artists from the early 1950s in 2015’s KA-POW! When Comics Imperiled America. That show drew from the personal collection of Greenwich resident Rob Reiner and featured the original large-scale illustrations alongside their final published comic book form.

Prolific Time magazine cover artist Boris Chaliapin was shown twice, first with a retrospective in 1979, and then again in 2009’s Boris Chaliapin: Faces of History. The works were selected from a treasure trove of art and artifacts discovered in the attic of the Chaliapin home in Easton, CT. Focused on more than 70 paintings of commissioned, though never before seen, Time covers, the show included correspondence and supporting reference materials to tell the fascinating stories behind their unpublished status. Known as “Mr. Time” for his ability to produce a painting in less than 24 hours, Chaliapin created over 400 published covers between 1942 (Nehru) and 1970 (Nixon).

Names like Rembrandt, Matisse, and Calder are on the reading list Greenwich Library created to highlight some of our more conventionally famous alumni artists. We encourage exploring that further!

Last month we focused on Floral and Botanical Artists and you can find even more of our artists here.