Remove this ad


Jun 23 09 10:46 PM

Tags : :

It occurred to me that there ought to be a topic discussing Nagel’s process. That is, how he worked, created, published, and lived. The only published recollection of Nagel’s work comes from his assistant, Barry Haun:

"I had seen Patrick's work long before I had an idea of who he was. I didn't know if the work was done by a man or a woman, but it appealed to me like nothing before had. I remember commenting, "If I could apprentice under anybody, it would be this person." Watch out, you may get what you're after! In less than one year I was Pat's assistant. At first I was intimidated, but Pat had a way of making everything seem simple. He was the most even-tempered, good-natured person you could ever meet. Joe, his dog, is the same way. I'm willing to bet there isn't a person who met Patrick who didn't immediately like him. It was hard for me to imagine him as a paratrooper in Vietnam with eighteen jumps into the middle of combat. I can just picture his saying, "You guys go ahead, I'm going to sit here and finish this cigarette." The only thing I ever asked him about that experience was what it was like to get shot at, and he said, "You learn to not take it personally."

"I think I became quite spoiled working for him. I could get up at six, be at the beach by seven, surf until nine, and still be at work by eleven. At times we'd start with a photo session using the most beautiful girls imaginable. He would have already worked up thumbnail sketches of what he wanted to do, but he tried not to preconceive to much. Often he would get out and buy the models outfits, usually bringing in makeup and hair stylists, too. The sessions were always very professional. You could tell that he loved women, being drawn more to their sensual qualities rather than to their overt sexuality. He also loved details; for instance, he would talk about how women would remove a small bit of tobacco from their mouths with great delicacy in the days before cigarettes were filtered. He used many different models, but there were a couple of favorites.

"From the photographs he would work up drawings and then transfer them to illustration board or canvas, inking in lines, choosing colors, continually making subtle changes, working on the shading, finishing out the detail. There were quite a few steps before we had a completed image that could be shipped off for a silk-screening or exhibition.

"Nagel started working each individual composition by using pencil on board. Most of the illustrations he submitted to Playboy magazine were small -- some as small as 9x10" -- and rather unassuming looking and otherwise rough quasi-sketches, done with gouache and pencil. In some instances the preliminary erasures weren't even removed because Nagel knew that the 9x10" drawing was going to be reduced to the size of a postage stamp in the magazine, when published, and when that happened, everything would 'tighten up'.

"Nagel’s arcylic paintings, although similarly begun in pencil, relied heavily on the use of the French Curve. The macquettes were then transferred to large artist boards or canvasses and finished with brush.

"Pat sometimes had a hard time relaxing, but daily he would take a nap on the floor. He would occasionally get nervous about getting started on a new piece or about a show deadline.
"Work normally would start at eleven and continue until six, at which time we'd knock off, I'd go home, and he'd go upstairs to where he lived. There were times when I'd drop by at three in the morning and he'd be in the studio with the TV on, drinking coffee or Pepsi, and painting. At first I thought the work would get old for me, but that didn't happen. I was continually amazed by the new images he'd come up with, and he was constantly refining and improving them. He was visually oriented, and his sense of design, color, and line was uncanny. Besides drawing and painting, he was becoming excited about the sculpture pieces and wanted to develop more.

"It will always be the idealized women he will be remembered for, but he also wanted to do more male images, as people responded well to the ones he did. Pat also loved photography and would have liked to become a better photographer, but he felt photography was too technical for him, so he would paint what he wanted to capture on film instead. He liked the work of high-fashion photographers, as well as other illustrators such a Joseph Leyendecker, Henry Raleigh. Saul Tepper. He especially loved the pre-Raphaelite painters.

"Although Nagel possessed wit and style, he loved to watch TV. He'd come into the studio and plan out his day with the TV schedule. Superman was definitely a favorite, though he thought Lois Lane was a bitch. He'd also be disappointed if he had an appointment during a Laurel and Hardy film. He liked sound tracks from spaghetti westerns. like Once Upon a TIme in the West, and he liked early rock and roll of the fifties, Presley, Sinatra, Cole Porter, Les Paul, and Paul Desmond.

"He was amused by his success, but he didn't get a big head about it, he was just very happy being able to make a living from his work. He was thrilled by simple things---a fan letter from Tasmania, prisoners writing to tell him how they hoped to be artists when they got out, people saying they had bought furniture to match his art, some people buying as many as ten or twenty of his images. He was a check grabber at restaurants, he loved to drink martinis, he was hungry for trivia. He loved jokes: I can't tell you how many bad jokes we traded and had to endure. But what are friends for?"

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Remove this ad

#1 [url]

Jul 12 09 6:52 PM

This post is as much about process as it is about unseen artwork.  Many have heard of the Nagel Budweiser campaign, but few have seen it.  This posting will hopefully change all that.

This dip into the archives would best be done with a large flatbed scanner. However, the following photographs were taken with a low-tech digital camera and the top of a dryer. So, we will have to make due with our imaginations on this one.

This beer-drinker's tale finds us back in the summer of 1982.  It begins with an advertising executive in the midwest who needs to come up with an ad campaign to reach college-age drinkers to turn them onto Budweiser. Though this project sounds to the lay observer like shooting fish in a barrel, he decides that the campaign must have a classier, upscale image to hook the consumer onto a beverage that he or she can enjoy not just in a frat house, but also in a future house in the suburbs. Instead of appealing to the usual T&A, it would be T&Awith class.

The ad executive knows of the work of an artist out in California by the name of Patrick Nagel who has done extensive work with Playboy. He obtains a porfolio from Mirage (image 1 and 2 below) and the personal business card of the artist (image 3). He calls up Mr. Nagel and explains what he wants to do. Mr. Nagel, an up and coming artist, says "No!" Undaunted by Mr. Nagel's refusal, the ad exec. drafts out a sketch mimicing Mr. Nagel's unmistakable style the best he can (image 4). He further explains to Mr. Nagel that he envisions a series of individual works to be distributed in college papers throughout the country on a serialized basis. Mr. Nagel is hooked. He wants to do the project!

Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment

Quote    Reply   

#2 [url]

Jul 12 09 7:19 PM

Artist Pat Nagel worked closely with the young ad exec on a series of five images that, when brought together, would form one long image of a beer party. Mr. Nagel developed original images for the project, and borrowed from prior images, to form a scene of numerous characters at a beer party, all depicted with the cool, aloof style that was his own.

Finally, he submitted sketches to the ad exec for review (image 5) and approval by the exec and, most importantly, the top brass at Budweiser.

Budweiser loved the women, but the men in the sketches were a little "too pretty." They needed to be extra butch. (After all, these guys should be looking for action, and Budweiser should be there to help them get it!) One of the male characters should be looking "at the girl in the corner -- maybe a little smile on his face." Mr. Nagel was requested to switch characters in two panels -- there were to be no characters of the same sex in any one panel. People might get the wrong idea! (images 6, 7, and 8)

Finally, Pat Nagel was left to create the final images. Stock was ordered (image 9) and a press release was issued by Budweiser, informing college students that "Your taste in art can be as good as your taste in beer with the Budweiser College Art Series. Now you can own this series of fine graphic illustrations by renowned artist Pat Nagle [sic] . . . So look for them in your college newspaper and start your art collection courtesy of The King of Beers." (image 10)

Tomorrow's episode: the series is done! . . . and handed over to Budweiser.


Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment

Quote    Reply   

#3 [url]

Jul 23 09 12:06 AM

After considering the comments made by the Budweiser executives, Pat Nagel completed the five ink and guache drawings which he submitted back to his young ad exec,  The guaches were photographed and slightly reduced by about 82%.

Thereafter, at the behest of the client, Carefullly Reviewed Appended Print (known by its acronym C.R.A.P.) was overlayed onto the masters shot from the guaches. (illus. 2, 4, and 6) Lots of C.R.A.P. was liberally applied to the artwork before it was shot and distributed to college students across America in the Spring of '83.

Quote    Reply   

#4 [url]

Jul 24 09 10:41 AM

These Budweiser ad continue to blow me away with their simple elegance.
If anyone ever finds a set of the ads while digging in the garage and finds an old
college newspaper, or if any proofs show up, PLEASE let me know.

In the meantime, playing the Nagel deja vous angle, see the two included images here.
It is clear the woman is the same as in panel four holding the beer can.  Which came first,
who knows?, but the acrylic on canvas seems like a specific portrait to me.  Am I wondering
if it was commissioned by client.

The second image is another that nagelite sent me years ago of the original canvas of a woman
that has the same, massive hair.  Pure speculation on my part that is the same woman, since
the blouse is present.  This one was originally scheduled to be released as a NC/CN Series
limited edition serigraph print, but it was canceled in favor of other images being released as a CN.

Still wish it had been released, as there is not another Nagel quite like her and all that hair.


Quote    Reply   

#6 [url]

Dec 28 09 2:21 AM

Here are some more process-related photos.  These depict the photograph of the original model (taken on the rooftop of the Talmadge where Pat lived), the sketch, and finally the painting.

Quote    Reply   

#10 [url]

Jan 21 10 6:09 AM

I wish a photo existed for "Man in Pink Tee".  Very interesting post. 

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad

#11 [url]

Sep 1 11 12:11 PM


I would not be surprized in the least if the same model that posed for Robert's piece also posted for "Man in Pink Tee."  Both appear to be from the same era, have the same hair style and facial features, and converting from tank top to tee-shirt was easy enough.  :)

I thought I would add two images here from a poster I recently acquired.
WNET and a bank, The Bowery, had Pat create a poster to promote their series of silent films
early in his career.
There are lots of images of 1920s film stars in the films they were in, so Pat appears
to have used film stills and promotional materials to generate his images, creating a wonderful
opportunity compare photos with Pat's interpretations of them.

This part of the image is for a film called "7th Heaven" next to the image Nagel seems to have
used for it.  It looks like Pat gave Janet Gaynor some hair extensions amongst other modifications!

And here is one of Lon Chaney from "Phantom of the Opera."

I will be adding more over the coming weeks.



Quote    Reply   

#12 [url]

Jun 25 13 2:11 PM

This is a duplicate post to the one I just posted in the Nagel-esque women thread.  

At the previous Nagel website, there was an image, also in the book of a woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat with a veil.  The estate sometimes wrote a few comments to accompany the images.  For that image, they wrote something akin to "Nagel must have been looking at Italian Vogue when he created this image."

It is not a surprise to me that Nagel would look through magazines for inspiration, as alleged.

One model I always saw, but never knew her name, was Eva Voorhees.  There were several images of her back in the 1980s that I thought looked like some of the figures in Nagel's work.

A few weeks ago, I found out her name is Eva Voorhees, thanks to Mel Odom, who cited her as one of his muses.  Mel Odom, another iconic 1980s artist, was friends with George Stavrinos, and George and Pat were pals, I can image that they all were aware of Eva Voorhees.

Today, when looking for an image where I was certain a photograph of Eva was the inspiration behind another Nagel painting, I came upon this image, and the similarities are too many to be coincidence.

In the drawing for this painting, the model's hair matches the photograph;  It does not hang down past the model's cheek.

I love seeing how Pat would simplfy elements in a photograph and this comparrison is another great one for doing that later in his career.  (This painting, a small illustriaon on board, was published for an article titled "A Guide For Prospective Husbands," in January 1984, meaning it probably got completed no earlier than October 1983.)

I think this piece now must be named "Eva."  At least that is what I am going to call it from now on.

Google "Eva Voorhees," and I would not be surprised if you see other images that resemble a Nagel or two.  There is another where the pose is incredibly similar a woman in the Budweiser ad campaign.



Quote    Reply   

#13 [url]

Jun 25 13 5:06 PM

Here are the two images, with the painting made transparent and then overlayed on the source photograph of Eva.

I find it interesting that Pat chose to not add a line or shadow on the back to suggest the next and he also move the source light from the lower right side to the upper left side, so the model's chin got a shadow, but her shoulder and arm dot not cast a shadow.

It is cool to see that even the little tossle of hair that the top of her head is in the photograph, too, but slightly more curled.

The simplificaiton of the garmet is not unlike what he did with the very early piece posted previous with the couple ebracing and the woman's sleeve cuff much more simplified, and yet the most promient folds in the sleeve are represented in the painting.

The added on earring is either a wink at the fact that he painted this around Christmas, or an attempt to not leave so much white blank space on the cheek, or both.  :)

I think the thing I find the most interesting is that Nagel ignored the shape of her eye in order to comply with his style, not just on the squared off outside corner, but also the shape, the roundness and general teardrop shape, of the white are closer to the sinus area.

Forunately, Googleing "Eva Voorhees" while on break at work does not result in slew of NSFW photos the way some other models do.  And, Eva has a facebook page and she is still very much the knockout she was in the 1980s.

If anyone can find the picture of her in the advertisment for the down comforter.  That one is the one I was looking for today that I was sure inspired another Nagel illustration.



Quote    Reply   

#16 [url]

Jun 26 13 9:52 AM

The laser beams direct the viewer's eyes up and away from the heavy black shape of hair. A design convention that keeps visual interest moving around the picture plane. They could've been any shape, but Nagel may have had only enough time to draw in four straight lines.  Some artists activate the background with pattern to accomplish the same thing.  

Quote    Reply   

#17 [url]

Jun 26 13 12:15 PM

Once again, this forum amazes me.  

I'm convinced that you have found the photo that served as the basis for the painting, N-A.

According to Barry H, Pat used magazines as the basis for many of his works.  In fact, he would splice images from one magazine with an image from another.

Great job!!

P.S.  That last post reminds me of the match-the-skull-with-the-victim's-photograph episodes that I used to watch on Forensic Files.    gringrin

Quote    Reply   

#18 [url]

Jul 1 13 11:44 AM


How big is this drawing?  Is that the way Pat cropped it, or did it get matted that way?
I ask because this would be another case where we did the drawing twice, as I remember seeing
the other version that was not cropped.  (He did the same thing with several other pieces, and even
at the Just Looking Gallery 2007 Nagel retrospective, there were a few pieces that there were two
drawings for the same image, in particularly I remember the one with the woman wearing the military
cap that was listed in the "Future Nagel Commemoratives" section of the book, but never actually became a print.
(Not "Carol;" nor "Isetan.)

I also know that Playboy, dba "Special Editions Limited" release a version that is cropped very similarly to the way the drawing you posted is cropped, removing the less active space above the
model's head.

Thanks for posting that drawing!!!

In this version, at least, it looks like the hair is hanging below the model's cheek.  


Quote    Reply   

#19 [url]

Jul 1 13 11:59 AM

Thanks, Nagelite!


Several folks have asked privately, and yes, I did just "cold match" these images out of the blue.  Again, once I knew Eva's name, I started Googling her immediately because back the 80s, I was certain I saw several images in magazines that looked too similar to a Nagel paintings, but the image here was not one of them.

As for the using various body parts on different heads for various pictures, I am glad to get confirmation of that;  It was obvious he was doing that within his own work, borrowing elements and body parts from one model and modifying the figure with these Frankenstein-ed parts as needed.

The model pinching her nipple in the book had that hand come from another work, and the piece we all call "Cashmere" of Cathy St George also had another head inserted over Cathy's and panties were also added.  And I saw a drawing of the woman pinching her nipple, only a completely different head was attached; one that was in profile, with short hair and a blindfold, yet the shoulders and torso match perfectly.

Related to this, I have another Eva to to Nagel translation piece to post that relates to this body modification process.  In panel 5 of Nagel's Budweiser campaign, which he seemed to have used more loose, less precise, process for the more reduced-to-simpler black and white figures. (One woman is recycled from the Lucky Strike campaign, another is a re-do of a likely commissioned portrait, where he modified the face to look less like the original model) ...we also have this one of Eva Voorhees where he it seems certain he used the basic photo of Evas head and shoulders, made some more changes (making the opening of the blouse on the shoulder more wide and angular), moved one of Eva's hand, put a beer in it, and borrowed another hand from someone else!

A less precise origin photo being duplicated and so not quite as exciting a discovery as the first, but still cool to discover nonetheless.



Once again, this forum amazes me.  
I'm convinced that you have found the photo that served as the basis for the painting, N-A.
According to Barry H, Pat used magazines as the basis for many of his works.  In fact, he would splice images from one magazine with an image from another.
Great job!!
P.S.  That last post reminds me of the match-the-skull-with-the-victim's-photograph episodes that I used to watch on Forensic Files.    [image][image]


Quote    Reply   

#20 [url]

Feb 3 17 9:56 PM

While looking for another Nagel drawing, I happened to find this image of famous 80s model Gia in the pose and swimsuit that Nagel clearly borrowed as the source for his December 12, 1982 Playboy Advisor image, save for the figure's head and the exposed breast.


Last Edited By: Nagel Angel Feb 3 17 9:58 PM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help