The gentleman who pretty much invented the album cover as we know it died on Sunday 17th July 2011 age 94. Time to mourn his passing and celebrate his achievements, namely some utterly beautiful LP sleeve art.
Alex Steinweiss was quoted as saying that he thought if he could be a good sign writer he'd be happy. What he actually achieved had a far greater impact on twentieth century culture than he could possibly have imagined. This is a man who opened the door to the kind of innovation we are seeing from Bjork's Biophilia project - the thought that you could attach visual ideas to musical works. So powerful was this attachment that the two are now inextricably linked. Even a plain album cover became a strong visual statement, just think of the Beatles' White Album.
A fantastically influential creative force is now lost to the world but he left us with some great stuff. We intend to commemorate his creative life by delving into our Taschen monograph dedicated to his work.
Steinweiss featured heavily in the Eisner Museum's (closed until further notice) exhibition The Art of the Album Cover and an online game / feature they created lists four eras of album cover art: the 70s, the 60s, the 50s and 'The Era Of Steinweiss'. That says it all, really.
Also, here is the NY Times Obituary by Steven Heller from the 19th July.
R.I.P. Mr Steinweiss.