Designers: Alex Steinweiss

One of the most fun ways to collect covers is by cover designers. The dean of designers is Alex Steinweiss. There is a good wikipedia article on him. He designed over 2500 record covers in the period 1938 to 1972, and a few since then. These covers are from his most classic period, the golden age of record covers, 1945 to 1950.

12 Responses to Designers: Alex Steinweiss

  1. John McGiveney says:

    Read about Steinweiss’s death today in the NYTimes and enjoyed viewing some of his work here. I looked at many of his covers during nearly a decade of working in a used-record store in Chicago, without ever knowing, or truth be told even wondering, anything about the artist. The Internet is a wonderful resource and this lovely blog is a fine illustration. I’ve met many record collectors but somehow it never occured to me that anyone systematically collected the covers!
    John McGiveney

    • recordcovers says:

      thanks for the kind comment. In 15 years of going to thrift shops looking for records I have met a few other collectors who collect for the covers. Two of the ones I can remember collected thematically – transportation on covers, cats on covers. The third one collected designers, but was not a completist like I am. The author of the Times obituary is a cover collector, and the author of two books on Steinweiss and the 1940s in record covers.

  2. Michael Biel says:

    I’ve enjoyed going thru your blog and especially seeing all of the variations of the early Columbia LPs when they didn’t know what they were doing for a couple of years. I have a lot to say and I know you will have even more to say after you listen to my ARSC presentation and see the 300 pre-Steinweiss covers I show. I’ll just briefly say that StevenHeller, the authgor of the NYTimes obit and those books is not a cover collector. He is an art professor and writer, and has not done any non-Steinweiss research in the area of record covers. (I am a retired professor, a long-time record collector and historian, with a collection of perhaps 100,000 recordings.)

    You rightly disagreed with the claim that Rodgers and Hart C-11 was not the first illustrated cover — it is only HIS first cover. As you will see in my presentation, Decca had already had over a hundred albums with several different styles of designs, typography, and illustration, and that other companies had also done some covers — and despite what Heller says,most had original artwork. Go to the website of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections ARSC-audio.org where the past conferences can be accessed,
    http://www.arsc-audio.org/conference/audio2010/index.html This is the page for the 2010 conference in New Orleans, and scroll down to Saturday where you will find “Mike Biel
    Illustrated Record Album Covers Before Steinweiss” and you can click on mp3 for the audio and | PowerPoint part 1, part 2 for the illustrations. Part i goes along with the talk, and Part 2 shows almost all of the first 125 Decca covers, most of which were issued and all of them were planned before the first Steinweiss cover. Michael Biel

  3. Michael Biel says:

    Of course I mean that you were right to disagree with the claim that C-11 was the first illustrated cover.

  4. Pingback: Alex Steinweiss « Joe Blogs

  5. djagoon@aol.com says:

    I’d like to find certain Steinweiss covers, namely MM-605, Rachmaninoff C2 w/Sandor, pno;
    MM-667, Prokofieff 3 w/Mitropolous, pno; MM-603, Brahms, Szigeti,vn. These are albums I had as a kid. Any available for sale? Unfortunately, I have none to trade.
    Regards- Bob K

    • J. Vicente says:

      TEngo varios discos de las casas “Columbia” “RCA Victor” con portadas diseñadas por Alex Steinweiss, Frank Decker. Esos dibujos absolutamente modernos me han fascinado y me gustaría tener información sobre coleccionistas, precios, y ejemplares disponibles en el mercado. También podría vender algún ejemplar.

      • recordcovers says:

        an online translation gave:
        I have several discs of the houses “Columbia” “RCA Victor” with covers designed by Alex Steinweiss, Frank Decker. These drawings absolutely modern have fascinated me and I would like to have information on collectors, prices, and copies are available in the market. You could also sell any copy.

  6. Lori says:

    I just scored two Steinweiss record covers at Goodwill today. Best $2 spent!

  7. Paul Clarke says:

    I happened upon your site through my search for information on John Wummer. I would love to purchase a copy of your recording of him in the Bach Suite. As I read through your blog, I realized that I had some old recordings and yes I found an RCA Victor recording of Menuhin playing the Paganini Concerto No. 1 with the Paris Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Monteux. The cover is by Frank Decker. I think this will be a fun addition to my record searching, thank you for the new outlook on ‘what to look for while record shopping’.
    Paul

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