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Staehle, Will

Entry updated 30 January 2023. Tagged: Artist.

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(?   -    ) US book designer and illustrator, active from around the turn of the twenty-first century, serving for a time as art director for HarperCollins Publishers. From the beginning his work has been characterized by a liking for geometrical forms, sometimes with flattened perspective, and often resembling posters (with the cartoonish wall presence and the articulate conveyance of desired information characteristic of that form); the effect, in the first years of his career, was sometimes cleverish. He also has a clear predilection for covers – like for instance that for Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007) – that evoke and sometimes Parody the proscenium arch. Echoes of Art Deco are evident, sometimes tamingly decorous (he has a not entirely persuasive liking for turquoise), especially in his early work; sometimes gamed through an adroit use of silhouettes. His later work shows an enriched palette, and an increasing cogency in the dramatization of narrative content; even his most abstract recent work – instances being Paul LaFarge's The Night Ocean (2017), Stephen King's The Outsider (2018) or Malka Older's Centenal Cycle from 2016 – gives a sense of informed intimacy with the tales he displays. [JC]

see also: Kitschies.

William Owen Staehle

born Wisconsin


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