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David Stone Martin Illustrating the 1950’s

July 11, 2022

Hi Everyone, I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying a little of these lovely summery rays. I have a small sale on my stories over on Instagram so please head over and have a look here @fishinkblog Also I will be taking a short break from the blog of a couple of weeks off to concentrate on my artwork and have some time to read and enjoy the summer. If you are planning some time away, have a lovely break too.

David Stone Martin was born June 13, 1913, in Chicago and attended evening classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

It’s been said that he was greatly influenced by the line art of Ben Shahn. During World War II, David was an art director for the United States Office of War Information and produced a series of posters for them like these below.

By 1950, he was already well known for his record covers and had produced more than 100 for Mercury, Asch, Disc and Dial record albums. Many assignments came from his longtime friend, record producer Norman Granz.

Such a simplistic yet stylish feel to these, no wonder his work was in demand.

For various companies, David eventually created illustrations more than 400 record covers !

Many of these were simply line art combined with a single colour. His favorite tool was a crowquill pen which enabled him to do delicate line work. David said “Searching out a line is like bending wire… volume, modeling, shape and motion can all be said in line and wash…”

CBS-TV art director William Golden gave him many print ad assignments during the 1950s, and he soon expanded into illustration for Seventeen, The Saturday Evening Post and other slick magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.

His studio was located in Roosevelt, New Jersey, near his home there.

He is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution.

David was the husband of muralist Thelma Martin, who painted the post office mural for the facility in Sweetwater, Tennessee. He also created a few book and front covers for the likes of Time magazine.

He was the father of graphic artist Stefan Martin (born 1936) and painter Tony Martin.

He died March 1, 1992, in New London, Connecticut, where he had lived in his old age.

Thank you to Wikipedia and Leif Peng over at Today’s Inspiration for the info and initial introduction.

More of David’s record sleeves can be found at Birka Jazz Archive.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse M. Reyes permalink
    July 11, 2022 11:41 pm

    The two book covers you have posted, Mister Jelly Roll and The Party are not by DSM. Mister Jelly Roll is the UK cover by a UK artist‚ DSM did the American hardcover 1st edition by the publisher Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950. The Party is by “Biro” (signed, lower left of jacket).

  2. July 12, 2022 9:15 am

    Another great post, which brightened my morning., thanks so much. I love his work, especially the Mercury sleeves.

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