Special Exhibit: Alan Magee
April 6 through May 5, 2008
Born in 1947 in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Alan Magee attended art school in Philadelphia and, in 1969, began working as an editorial and book illustrator in New York. Among his regular clients were Time, Atlantic, Playboy, New York Magazine, The New York Times; and Bantam, Ballantine, and Simon & Schuster Books. During the 1970s Magee produced paintings for the covers of books by Graham Greene, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, John Irving, Yukio Mishima, Stanley Elkin, John Neihardt, Ken Kesey, Agatha Christie, and many others.
Magee's illustrations have received numerous awards including a National Book Award in 1982, Awards of Excellence from the Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts magazine, Playboy magazine’s Annual Editorial Award, and awards from the Art Directors Clubs of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
In the late 1970s Magee began to concentrate on his personal paintings and in 1980 had his first solo exhibition at Staempfli Gallery in New York.
Since that time, he has had annual one-person shows throughout the United States and Europe. In 1991 a 10-year retrospective, "Alan Magee 1981-1991," traveled to four U.S. museums. "Archive," an exhibition of Magee’s black and white monotypes, opened at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall in November 2000 and later traveled to the Portland Museum of Art, the University of New Hampshire at Durham, and the New England College Art Gallery at Henniker, New Hampshire. An "Alan Magee Retrospective" exhibition opened at the James A. Michener Art Museum in 2003; the Farnsworth Art Museum, 2004; the Museum of Texas Tech University, 2004; and the Frye Art Museum, 2005.
Books of Alan Magee’s paintings include Stones and Other Works (Harry N. Abrams, 1986); Alan Magee 1981-1991 (Farnsworth Art Museum, 1991); and Archive: Alan Magee Monotypes (Darkwood Press and Spectrum Concerts Berlin, 2000). Alan Magee: Paintings, Sculpture, Graphics, a major book of the artist’s work, was released October 2003.
Magee has received awards for his painting from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. Several television documentaries have been made about his work including the Maine PBS production, Alan Magee, Visions of Darkness and Light; and Alan Magee, Maine Master, by the Union of Maine Visual Artists. He has been interviewed on Voice of America, Monitor Radio (Christian Science Monitor) in New York, WHYY in Philadelphia, and Pacifica Radio in San Francisco. A profile of the artist appeared in the March/April 2001 issue of Graphis.
Library Director Carolyn Anthony interviewed Alan Magee during his visit to the Library. They talked about his background and history as an artist, his work and inspirations, and the process of transforming an artistic vision into beautiful tapestry. Watch the video to learn more about Magee and his work, then visit the Alan Magee Studio on the Web to see a selection of his paintings, prints, tapestries, and monotypes.