Abe Gurvin

Abe Gurvin (Attleboro, Massachusetts, December 31, 1937 - Santa Maria, [Santa Barbara County], California, July 9, 2012) was one of the most prolific and interesting American artists, among the greatest representatives of 'psychedelic art' (which, in San Francisco, it was an evolution of 'groovy' art, and which drew inspiration from the systematic use of LSD). The news about his educational and professional training are totally absent from the websites, while his works are very well known, loved and awarded: he has designed album covers for artists such as Janis Joplin, The Zodiac, Federal Duck and Bread, but the historic series of Nuggets album covers for Elektra, represents an authentic masterpiece that sanctioned, and somehow closed, an extraordinary artistic era

Abe Gurvin's portfolio included advertising work for companies such as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Disney, Suzuki, IBM, Marantz, Scholastic, Kenwood, Time-Life Books, Sony Music, and many more. He has received awards from One Show, Communication Arts, New York Art Directors, Best of Show, LA Society of Illustrators, New York Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles Art Directors Club, Society of Publication Designers and The Belding Award.

We remember some graphic works by Abe Gurvin such as the unforgettable cover of Car & Driver of May 1968, where a psychedelic drawing had been transferred to the hood of a Porches; the collection of drawings for the Casserole Cookbook kitchen, for the Sci-Tech science fiction series and the numerous hand-drawn illustrations for an editorial project of fairy tales (still unpublished today) called I Am Being Me by Ann di Hope.

Abe Gurvin served on the board of directors of SILA (Los Angeles Society of Illustrators); in 1988 Gurvin moved to a mansion in Laguna Beach, California and later to Santa Maria where he died at the age of 74.



the only flat thing to believe is the LP record

My precious collection is clear evidence that anything can be a treasure. The most important aspect for me is not represented by the value of the articles, but by the joy that these have given me over the years.

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HOME PAGE… september 2023

The Home Page is the most difficult page to write, because it has to say 'something', it has to be comprehensive of a given topic (although then - in a little while - it will be different, when the topic will change), and the topic should be, as much as possible, original, catchy. A year ago, September 2022, I had been trying to rearrange some of my records, and as I was handling them by moving them among the shelves, looking at them I wondered if it was possible to 'think' of a record calendar - to be posted on FB - that would consider only 33rpm with photographs of the performers of the same record on the cover, choosing the date of the day for their births or deaths (ditto for chamber ensembles: date of their formation and cessation of activity).


Apparently the thing seemed simple (but do you want there to be 365 covers with photographs of the performers on the cover?), but at the time of studying the feasibility of the proposal mountains of problems arose: first of all, trying to vary the musical types as much as possible (so many pianists, violinists and conductors... unfortunately - for the moment - no bassoonists, or trobonists: too bad), then the very numerous overlaps between artists who were born - or died - on the same day: how to choose?

An albeit faint guideline I had to take: first of all, in order to solicit the curiosity of those who visited my FB group 'Zecky's Records', I also proposed - not a few - artists who recorded few records, to honor (at least once) their memory; as their counterbalance I then obviously turned to the very big names (such as the 'Big Five' photographed in Berlin in the summer of 1929: Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, and Wilhelm Furtwängler; and the other modern 'Big Five': Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado and Carlos Kleiber) including almost all the major pianists, from Edwin Fischer to Sviatoslav Richter; from Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli to Solomon (Cutner); from Artur Schnabel to Arthur Rubinstein; from Gina Bachauer to Lili Kraus; from Myra Hess to Moura Lympany.


I admit, as an Italian collector, to tipping the scales of impartiality toward Italian artists a bit, but not so much; certainly there are names that in Europe are known only to a few super-experts (although they have also had international careers, musicians such as guitarist Aldo Minella, or pianist Bruno Mezzena, are known to a world of musical gourmets), but many others are extremely popular, such as Riccardo Muti, the Italian Quartet, Maria Tipo, Enrico Mainardi, Carlo Maria Giulini, Dino Asciolla, Paolo Bordoni and many others.


It is only natural that artists from all over the world were considered, but some nations were penalized (I would have liked to have included more artists from Japan and Northern Europe, while I managed to find a record with Yi-Kwei Sze, the only Chinese artist to have the honor of the cover) and I was very sorry about this. Some excellent names were left out for this 2023 calendar and, again, their omissions were 'painful' renunciations: there are no Leontyne Price, Nicolai Gedda, Leonie Rysanek, Mario del Monaco, Seiji Ozawa, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alfredo Kraus, Thomas Schippers, the Melos-Quartett, Eugen M. Dombois, Alexander Kipnis, Maurice André, Wolgang Windgassen, Peter Pears, Itzhak Perlman, Maria Stader, Eliahu Inbal, Sergei Koussevitzky, Cornell MacNeil, Arthur Balsam, Fiorenza Cossotto, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Zinka Milanov, the Paganini Quartet, Annie Fischer, Piero Cappuccilli, Ferdinand Leitner, John Pritchard, Giuseppe Valdengo, Jennie Tourel, Eduard van Beinum, Enzo Dara, Alfredo Campoli, John Shirley-Quirk, the Beaux Arts Trio, Maria Cebotari, Gottlob Frick, Colin Davis, Thomas Binkley, Marian Anderson, Franco Gulli, Eberhard Waechter, the Trieste Trio, Licia Albanese, Ferenc Fricsay, Sesto Bruscantini, Zara Nelsova, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Charles Munch, Sherrill Milnes, Jacqueline du Prè, the Borodin Quartet, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Spivakov, Ettore Bastianini, Thomas Beecham, Karl Erb, Teresa Berganza, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Rita Streich, the Mari Iwamoto String Quartet, Irmgard Seefried, Bernard Haitink, Richard Tucker, Gioconda De Vito, Luigi Alva, Kathleen Ferrier, Martina Arroyo, and at least a hundred other great performers who have had the honor of appearing on some of their record covers.


I am not sure that an eventual 2024 calendar (preparing the 2023 one has cost me a great deal of time, I must admit) will still consider the great musical performers; it would be time to do some music history through listening to vinyls, perhaps taking into consideration the 'older' ones with the greatest performers of those years. But in the meantime, let us conclude 2023, and I hope I have solicited your curiosity, and your approval.

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