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Minor, Wendell

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1944-    ) US artist, author and illustrator, initially in association with Paul Bacon, whose concern and hands-on responsibility for typography he shares; his first covers date from 1968. The intensely enhanced Magic Realism of his work, much of it depicting rural America, has been influential from the 1970s. In contrast to the overdetermined populousness of the work of Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), his works rarely depict human figures interacting. Some of his urban inscapes evoke Edward Hopper (1882-1967), and some conjunctions of images may reflect the influence of René Magritte (1898-1967); but he may be closest to Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), some of whose paintings might almost seem to depict the irrecoverable aftermath of a Minor scene where some narrative moment awaits an explosive outcome. He seems to have been influenced by none of the sf or fantasy illustrators who preceded him (see Illustration). He does not use an airbrush, so although his denser-than-real evocations of action in landscape may have influenced later illustrators, his specific techniques have tended not to.

Minor's first works of interest include early works by Michael Crichton. Later Minor covers include the sf work of Björn Kurtén and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, both authors of Prehistoric SF tales to which he responded with hieratic images of iconic clarity. Other authors with notable covers include Christopher Anvil, Ray Bradbury, Timothy Findley, W P Kinsella and Robert Sheckley.

Minor was commissioned by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) to cover the liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery on 30 August 1984; he has illustrated more than one American postage stamp. He has also published a large number of Picture Books for younger children: these are not listed here. [JC]

Wendell Gordon Minor

born Aurora, Illinois: 17 March 1944




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